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How should digital assets be dealt with in estate planning?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2021 | Estate Planning |

When planning for the future, large physical assets like a home, vehicle, pets, or possessions are common considerations. But as the world moves increasingly online, digital assets have become a critical part of what people leave behind when they pass away. Unfortunately, many of these digital assets are forgotten in Florida estate plans. Here are some of the options and considerations when it comes to digital assets and estate plans.

There are three main options for electronic accounts and property when someone passes away: delete, manage, or transfer to someone else. Some platforms have specific functionalities for users passing away; for example, Facebook turns accounts to “in memorium” mode, while Google has an “inactive account manager” that can help ease the transition of accounts to executors. However, taking advantage of these functionalities may require some pre-planning, such as naming someone to take over the account after a period of inactivity.

While major email, social media, and payment accounts may be top of the list with digital estate planning, there are other accounts that are often forgotten but can be valuable. Online libraries, such as those stored in Apple Music or on an eBook software, are one example. Another is point accounts for hotels, airlines, or other travel rewards programs. In many cases, planning for these could be as simple as a line in the will and a password left to an executor. Barring that effort, however, these items could be lost forever.

The answer to the question “which digital assets should be in my estate plan?” is, essentially, all of them. Whether it’s an account with valuable assets, a blog or hard drive containing intellectual property, an email account with private information. or even just the storage of photos or documents with emotional value – planning for each of these is a good idea when building an estate plan. The consideration of digital assets is not only for cryptocurrency owners or tech moguls, but anyone with one or more online accounts or information stored on computers. To understand how to plan for digital assets while protecting private information like passwords, it is a good idea to speak with a Florida lawyer.