Assets include more than just bank accounts, properties, and other important possessions. Emails, Facebook accounts, and downloaded songs on iTunes are also considered assets. In fact, according to a research from McAfee, the average person has about $35,000 worth of assets in digital devices. These include purchased games, movies, books, music, as well as personal records and career/banking information.
Risks for Digital Assets
These assets are at risk of being lost or forgotten when the owner dies. Denver estate planning attorneys note that trusted family members or friends may not access or deal with accounts that carry sentimental and monetary value. In the case of PayPal account, for instance, it is usually hooked up to a personal bank account, putting the estate at risk for fraud or hacking.
Digital Assets in Estate Plan
This is why experts suggest including them in an estate plan. Some digital accounts are also governed by strict terms of service agreements, which make it difficult or almost impossible for family members to access them. State and federal laws, furthermore, could put loved ones and friends who try to access these accounts at risk for violating laws related to anti-hacking.
Preparing for the Handling
It is important to note that more 50% of digital assets stored on devices would be impossible to recreate or re-purchase. This is why it is best to be aware of all your online accounts and subscriptions, as well as the ways in protecting them. Don’t forget to talk to an estate planning attorney to help incorporate valuable assets in an estate plan.
Here are a few other ways in preparing for the handling of your digital assets:
- Create an inventory of all your assets and keep the inventory information somewhere safe.
- Make a list of all your current passwords or use a password manager.
- Have an online vault to place all estate planning and other important documents.
- Write a statement of intent for your digital assets and directions for each account.
It is also advisable to choose an executor carefully. Experts suggest considering the information they will have access to in online accounts. Be specific, like noting that they can or cannot read your messages or reply to them. Picking the right person is highly important, as they will know very personal and private information.