Digital assets can be just as important as tangible assets.
For most of human history, people valued what was tangible.
Wealth and value was determined by things like the number cattle or the acres of land owned.
Only recently have digital assets even existed.
According to a recent yahoo! article titled “How to Start Digital Estate Planning in 2023,” digital assets now hold both monetary and sentimental value.
The value placed on these intangible assets means you cannot afford to ignore them in your estate planning.
To begin, you should take an inventory of these digital assets.
They include both online accounts and documents on a computer hard drive.
Do you have social media accounts, domain names, websites, online stores or businesses, accounts for online stores, software, and computer code?
Have you stored pictures, video, or other media on your computer or on cloud storage?
Do you keep digital financial records or have cryptocurrency?
Do you have computerize hardware like tablets, phones, hard drives, or other devices?
Make a list of all the items in each of these categories.
Failing to do so may mean losing family heirlooms or wealth.
Once you have your list, you should compile passwords and logins.
The number of accounts and passwords alone make this a time-consuming task.
You will also need to address two-factor authentication to guarantee your executor will be able to access the accounts when you die.
The record you have should include the platform, your username, your password, and any additional login information.
Keeping a physical copy may be helpful, because password storage sites do occasionally get hacked.
In some instances, simply providing login information to your executor or agent is sufficient to access accounts.
Other times, you will need to grant legal authority.
To be safe, in your last will and testament you should address how would like your executor to handle each account.
Many companies allow you to simply rent or license the right to certain digital assets for a time, even though you may believe you are “buying” greater rights.
For example, you may click “Buy” for a digital movie or song on Amazon Prime.
This often is simply downloading a license to a product.
Rights to terminate access are retained by the company.
In some instances, licenses are revoked upon the death of the licensee and cannot be transferred.
Because of such nuances, when it comes to digital assets and estate planning, it is wise work with your experienced estate planning attorney to address your intangible property.
Reference: yahoo! (Jan. 28, 2023) “How to Start Digital Estate Planning in 2023”