When you are developing your estate plan, you are likely considering your tangible assets like your money, properties, and personal items. However, in this day in age, you must also consider your intangible, digital assets. Continue reading to learn what is considered a digital estate plan and how an experienced Monmouth County estate planning attorney at Margaret M. Mahon, Esq., LLC can help you in incorporating this.
What is considered a digital estate plan?
Put simply, a digital asset is any valuable document, property, etc., that you own and that is stored digitally. Examples of what digital assets should be considered in your digital estate plan are as follows:
- Your financial accounts: this may include your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, stock portfolios, and even your online payment services (i.e., PayPal or Zelle) that are managed online.
- Your online rewards programs: this may include any account you have with a business that offers points, cash back, or discounts to you as a returning customer. With time, your accumulated rewards may add up to be valuable enough to add to your digital estate plan.
- Your social media accounts: this may include your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, among other social media platforms. Though your accounts may not bring you any monetary income, they may be valuable enough to add to your estate plan so that your electronic communications can be properly protected and handled.
- Your digital media collections: this may include any photos, videos, or music files that have been digitized and stored in a cloud-based system. Though your media may not bring you any monetary income, they may be valuable enough to add to your estate plan if they hold sentimental value to you and your loved ones.
What happens if I do not include digital assets in my estate plan?
Undoubtedly, there are consequences for not including your digital assets in your digital estate plan. For example, say that, for whatever reason, your loved ones ever need to access your financial accounts, reward accounts, social media accounts, or otherwise. If you do not grant them permission to do so in your will or otherwise in your estate documents, then they may not be legally able to do so. This is regardless of whether they have your account information.
So, in your will or otherwise in your estate documents, you must note the following:
- List all the digital accounts that you own (i.e., your financial, reward, and social media accounts).
- Provide the information needed to access these accounts, (i.e., your usernames, passwords, answers to your security questions, etc).
- State how you want your digital assets handled and distributed.
- Appoint a digital executor to access and distribute your digital accounts accordingly.
All in all, you do not want your digital assets to fall in the wrong hands. So, we recommend that you employ a skilled Monmouth County estate planning attorney before it is too late.