With more people living a digital lifestyle today than at any other time in history, the distribution of assets after death has become more complicated. For example, your email account, social media accounts, and digital images you capture all become part of your personal digital assets. Even Bitcoin is an example of a digital asset you may own.
Most states have already passed legislation in response to the unique situation of distributing digital assets after a person passes away. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that all but four states have specific laws in place to address who should take over social media, blogs, business and miscellaneous websites, and other digital assets after someone passes away. If you plan to create a will soon, don’t forget to include your cyber assets.
Consider What You Would Like to Happen to Your Digital Assets While of Sound Mind
What do you want to happen to your social media accounts and other digital assets if you’re not well enough to manage them or after you pass away? Would you prefer that someone close them for you, or do you intend to have another person manage them in your memory? If you have cryptocurrency accounts, it’s important to determine if you would prefer to close them or transfer ownership to someone else. If you have strong preferences, either way, it’s important to make digital asset distribution part of your estate planning process.
Make Sure You Understand the Terms and Types of Cyber Assets
It’s a good idea to review the terms and conditions of each of your social media accounts before creating your estate plan. Some, like Facebook, allow you to appoint someone to manage the account after your death. The option also exists to memorialize the page to allow people to continue to view what you have already posted and post their own pictures and memories in the future. You can even appoint a digital executor and a personal representative when completing the estate planning process if you wish.
For cryptocurrency accounts, consider providing a digital key to your loved ones to manage the asset when you can no longer do so due to ill health or death. This helps to prevent hacking while still allowing your loved ones access to this investment.
Start by Listing All Digital Accounts and Assets
When listing your accounts and digital assets, be sure to include login and password information for each one. Before formally starting your estate plan, make sure that your state allows you to include digital assets in your will. You will need to work with an attorney and personal representative if you wish to include digital assets and your state does not yet have a provision for it.
Schedule a Consultation with KGBV Advisors to Learn More
At KGBV Advisors, we understand that planning your estate is a complex process in the best of circumstances. To learn more about the distribution of digital assets or the process in general, please contact us to request a personal consultation.