Digital assets have become part of our “wealth”. While monetary value can be debated, there is no doubt that they are valuable and a part of our legacy. As we accumulate digital assets, it becomes more important to provide for them in our estate planning.
What Are Digital Assets
Digital assets include computers, smartphones, online bank accounts, email, social networking sites, ecommerce (eBay) accounts and ecurrency, blogs, domain names, intellectual property rights and many more.
Who and Why Manage Digital Assets
Your fiduciaries (including your power of attorney, trustee and executor) need the authority to access and manage your digital assets upon your disability and death in order to prevent identity theft, collect the assets and determine their value (both sentimental and real).
Some digital assets, such as domain names or advertising revenue from a personal blog, can have significant value. That is why authority should include in trusts and financial powers of attorney, so these assets can be managed in the event of your incapacity and after death.
How To Get Started
Just like tangible and financial assets, you need to take an inventory of your digital assets so that each is listed. In addition, you should provide instructions on how to access them and any wishes regarding their disposition. Given the dynamics of digital assets, this list should be updated regularly and kept in a safe location that is known by your fiduciaries.
Making Digital Assets Part of Your Estate Plan
Including digital assets as part of your Estate Plan is not complicated. Yet, they need to be addressed to ensure that they are recognized just like your more tangible assets.
Regardless of your estate, your digital assets will be part of your legacy. By planning and providing directives in advance, you can ensure that the cloud lives on.
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