The Growing Importance of Digital Assets in Estate Plans

What Are Digital Assets in Estate Planning?

Digital assets and estate planning are two-correlated concepts you can't afford to overlook today. The assets range from email and social media accounts to online investment portfolios and digital currencies. They also include digital files such as photos and crucial personal and business documents.

Florida Estate Planning lawyers advise on the importance of accounting for your digital assets when making crucial financial decisions, such as estate planning. When creating an estate plan, an oversight of digital assets can have devastating consequences for you and your beneficiaries. The assets can be squandered or fall into the wrong hands.

What Are the Pitfalls of Ignoring Digital Assets?

Excluding your digital assets from your estate plan can expose you to various problems. For example, your loved ones may not be able to shut down your social media accounts upon your demise, potentially exposing the accounts to online hackers or fraudsters, with the following consequences:

  • Potential for identity theft: Online criminals could take advantage of your lack of planning and use your online resources to propagate fraudulent activities.
  • Financial consequences: If you don't include your financial digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies, stocks, or savings accounts, in your estate plan, they could go unnoticed or unclaimed upon your demise.

If you have digital assets that you want to protect, consult skilled estate planning attorneys in Florida for legal counsel on how to include them in your estate plan.

What Categories of Digital Assets Can I Secure in My Estate Plan?

Florida estate planning attorneys provide legal counsel on the assets to secure in estate planning and the most suitable tools. Under the category of digital assets, here are a few you may want to consider securing:

  • Electronic communications: Online communication has experienced a dramatic transformation thanks to the widespread use of social media platforms. Secure the accounts likely to yield monetary worth, such as online business marketing accounts, so they can adequately be administered when you're no longer there.
  • Financial accounts: Most banks and financial institutions now allow their clients to conduct online transactions—some partner with digital payment systems for online money transfers. Bank and online payment services are financial accounts worth including in your estate plan.
  • Digital collections: Videos, photos, or music files you have stored digitally are also digital assets you should consider including in your estate plan. They may not have much financial value but may carry significant sentimental value that you may want to preserve for your descendants.
  • Online reward programs: Various companies provide online reward programs for customers to reward them with cash back, points, or discounts. Over time, the rewards can be valuable enough to be included in an estate plan.
  • Intellectual digital property: Digital files that contain your digital artwork, software, written works, or other creative works qualify as intellectual digital assets, which you may also want to include in your estate plan. If you have a business website, you also want to protect it as part of your digital assets.

What Are the Guidelines for Effective Digital Estate Planning?

Estate planning requires careful consideration and a thoughtful approach to the process. Working with experienced estate planning attorneys who understand how the process works to protect your interests is advisable.

Take Inventory

Digital estate planning entails several crucial steps, such as cataloging online accounts, digital currencies, login credentials, and other digital possessions. Indicate their corresponding login credentials and any two-factor authentication or security question details.

Your list should also indicate the location of crucial digital documents such as legal files and tax returns. Ensure you store the inventory securely, update it regularly, and entrust it with your Florida estate planning lawyers.

Outline Your Wishes

It's essential to state your wishes for each digital asset or account. For example, do you wish your social media accounts to be deleted immediately after your death, or should they be archived? What should happen to digital assets with monetary value, such as your business websites or online accounts?

Name an Executor

Consider appointing a digital executor to carry out your wishes. The person could differ from your estate's primary executor, particularly if you have valuable digital assets or specific privacy issues you wish to separate from your main estate.

Plan for Access

Ensuring your digital executor can access your digital assets is crucial in estate planning. After creating a list of your digital assets, use a password manager to manage the information effectively. Digital managers allow you to appoint an emergency contact for access in case of your death. Ensure your executor is aware of your chosen method to allow them access.

Consider Privacy

Privacy is crucial when planning for your digital assets, and it's vital to decide the accounts that should be accessible and those that should remain private because of the nature of sensitive information they may contain to prevent privacy breaches.

If you have shared digital assets, your estate planning lawyers in Florida can help you set guidelines to respect your privacy and that of co-users. They can ensure your instructions comply with Florida's privacy laws and are clearly outlined in the estate plan.

Protect Your Digital Assets with a Skilled Estate Planning Attorney

Including digital assets in estate plans is becoming increasingly important to ensure they remain protected after the owner's demise. If you want more legal and policy information about digital assets, consult experienced asset planning lawyers in Florida. They can simplify the planning process for you and ensure you eliminate mistakes that could void your estate plan.

The Dellutri Law Group is an estate planning firm with skilled lawyers who can help you with your estate planning needs. We care about our clients' needs and want to help them achieve their estate planning needs. Call us at 800-391-4337 to schedule a complimentary strategy session.