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Estate planning for digital assets is critical

On Behalf of | Aug 8, 2022 | Firm News

When creating a strategy that outlines preferences for legal and financial matters in the future, you will want to consider what you prefer for your property after you pass. This includes your savings, real estate, physical property and other tangible things you may want your loved ones to have, such as valuable collections. However, in your effort to address all of your assets, you will also want to consider your preferences for your digital assets as well.

Your digital property can be just as valuable as your physical assets. Failure to consider these things and include instructions for them in your estate plan can lead to issues that may take your loved ones months or years to navigate and settle. If you already have an estate plan in place, you will benefit from including instructions regarding your digital assets in order to prevent your heirs and beneficiaries from having to navigate a complicated electronic mess after your passing.

What digital assets do you own?

Most California adults have some type of online presence. You may have one or more social media accounts, photo accounts, messaging accounts and email accounts. After you pass, you may want someone to close these accounts, retrieve pictures or save certain things. However, it is critical that you leave clear instructions for what you want to happen, designate a specific person to do those these things on your behalf and include passwords and login information.

Other digital assets that many overlook when estate planning include their computer files and digital currency. If you own Bitcoin or other type of digital currency, you should treat this as regular currency, leaving instructions for accessing the right accounts and distributing the assets according to your preferences. While there are laws that allow the executors of some estates to access specific things, including instructions can minimize complications and confusion.

What should be in your plan?

An estate plan should be custom-tailored to your specific needs and objectives for your property after you pass. This includes your digital property, and it is worthwhile to seek an assessment of your estate in order to understand how you can make plans that will allow you to feel confident about all of your property and the interests of your loved ones. If you have not addressed your digital assets in your current plans, now is the time to do so.