Digital estate planning is a topic you can’t afford to overlook. As we move further into the digital age, assets like online accounts, digital photos, and even cryptocurrencies are becoming just as important as physical possessions.
Unfortunately, many people don’t consider these assets when developing their estate plans. This oversight can have serious consequences.
What Exactly Are Digital Assets?
Firstly, let’s clarify what we mean by digital assets. Digital assets can range from your email and social media accounts to digital currencies and online investment portfolios. They also include digital files such as photos, music, and important documents.
These assets can hold significant financial or sentimental value. Therefore, including them in your estate planning is vital.
The Pitfalls of Ignoring Digital Assets
Excluding digital assets from your estate plan can lead to a variety of problems. For instance, your loved ones might not be able to shut down or memorialize your social media accounts appropriately. They might also struggle to access financial assets that exist only online.
Potential for Identity Theft
One of the most alarming risks of neglecting digital assets in your estate planning is the threat of identity theft. Criminals could take advantage of a lack of planning and use your online accounts for fraudulent activities.
Do you have online savings accounts, stocks, or cryptocurrencies? Failure to include these in your estate plan could mean these valuable assets go unnoticed or, even worse, unclaimed.
Why a Standard Will Falls Short
Many people think a traditional will is all-encompassing. Unfortunately, standard estate planning often misses the mark when it comes to digital assets. Traditional wills typically focus on physical assets and may not even mention the digital sphere, leaving a critical gap in your planning.
Meet the Digital Executor
A digital executor is a person you assign to manage your digital afterlife. This individual will handle everything from deactivating your online accounts to distributing digital assets according to your wishes.
Guidelines for Effective Digital Estate Planning
- Catalog Your Digital Assets: Create a thorough list of all your online accounts, digital currencies, and other digital possessions, including login credentials.
- Name Beneficiaries: Specify who gets what in a clear and secure document. Keep this information safe and private.
- Legalize Your Wishes: Include your digital assets in your will or another legally binding document like a trust if they carry financial significance.
- Designate a Digital Executor: Pick a tech-savvy and responsible person to carry out your digital estate plan.
- Provide Secure Access: Keep all usernames and passwords in a secure digital or physical vault and ensure your digital executor knows how to access it.
- Regular Updates: Just like your traditional estate plan, your digital estate plan should be updated regularly to include new assets and wishes.
The Time to Plan is Now
The importance of digital estate planning cannot be overstated. By incorporating digital assets into your estate plan, you’re ensuring a complete and secure legacy for your loved ones.
Learn More About Estate Planning!
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Plus, we offer webinars on an ongoing basis, including on-demand webinars. You can learn a lot if you attend one of the sessions, and there is no charge, so this is a great opportunity. To gain access or register, click this link: Manhattan, NY estate planning events.