When updating your estate plan, it’s important to include digital assets that someone may need access to when you pass away. We live in a digital world where passwords, accounts, photos, videos, etc., are stored on devices such as laptops and smartphones.
It is important to include digital assets in your estate planning or they can be lost forever. As digital assets like Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrency, and online photos become more prevalent, the importance of comprehensive estate planning with digital considerations increases.
If you don’t consider digital assets in your estate planning, loved ones may not be able to access them, or they may not know they even exist.
What is a Digital Asset?
A digital asset is any data you have on a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or other pieces of technology. The digital asset does not necessarily have monetary value, but it could have sentimental value.
Examples of digital assets with sentimental value that most people have are photographs. Other digital assets have monetary value and are only accessible online with a username and password.
Digital assets that you should consider in your estate plan include:
- Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.)
- Assets in mobile payment services (such as PayPal, Venmo, and Square)
- Online bank accounts with no physical branches (such as Discover Online Savings)
- Online content (including blogs) and websites
- Credit card points and frequent flier miles
- Cloud account information
- Social media account information
Allowing Access to Your Digital Assets
Included in your digital estate plan should be a way for loved ones to access your digital assets. These instructions can make it easy for loved ones to easily access pieces of you that are in a digital format.
Preventing Identity Theft
Thieves and predators take advantage of dead people’s identities for fraud and theft. A comprehensive digital estate plan will allow family members to close your digital accounts and prevent thieves from accessing your digital assets.
How You Can Start Including Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan
The easiest way to start including digital assets in your estate plan is to be sure you have a notepad with all of your online accounts, email addresses, and passwords. A paper copy is not vulnerable to an online hacker and will consolidate access to your digital assets for loved ones.
An Estate Planning Attorney Can Help Protect Your Digital Assets
An estate planning lawyer knows the complexities of digital assets, how to protect them, and ensure access to your estate plan.
If you need assistance with specialized digital estate planning in North Carolina, don’t hesitate to call our office at (910) 777-5734. The Salines-Mondello Law Firm, PC, will be happy to help with your first, completely confidential consultation.