In today's world, estate planners have to consider their digital assets. Those could include anything from a social media account to an online store. After an estate owner's death, theadministration of these assets can become a complicated matter, especially if digital assets are not addressed in estate planning documents.
Some digital assets have monetary value; others may have sentimental value. Assets that can be owned outright, such as a domain name, may be included in wills or trusts. Social media or brand assets are more difficult to pass on to heirs, and it becomes important for individuals to understand both the nature of their property and the legal means by which digital assets can be transferred to another party.
One step in incorporating digital assets into estate planning is to identify them. Taking time to list all online accounts or properties, as well as essential information related to those items, can make the transference of the property go more smoothly.
If assets are associated with a company, brand or personal reputation, you might want to pass on control of the digital accounts to an executor or other trusted person. In those cases, making arrangements to transfer passwords and log-ins is essential. Some people save this information on an encrypted drive and provide instructions on how the appointed person can access information.
Digital assets are relatively new for estate planning processes, and it is a good idea to work with professionals to design creative, customized and legal solutions for handling digital properties now and in the future.