When most people think about estate planning, they think about the tangible assets they own – their house, their car, their bank account balances. However, what many people don’t realize is that they also own a number of digital assets, such as their email account, social media accounts, and even cloud storage accounts.
If you don’t plan for your digital assets in your revocable living trust, will or other estate planning documents, they could be lost forever when you die. This is because unlike tangible assets, which usually have a physical form that can be handed over to someone else, digital assets are typically stored on the internet and can only be accessed by the person who created the account.
This means that if you don’t leave instructions on how to access your digital accounts and the passwords to those accounts, they may not make it to whoever you want them to go to when you die.
While this may seem like a trivial issue compared to more serious matters such as who should receive your money and real estate, it is an important one for which everyone should plan. If your email account has sentimental value because it contains old letters from family members or friends that were never sent, don’t risk losing these precious memories forever. If you have valuable information saved in cloud storage, such as tax documents or financial records, do you really want the only copy of the information lost over time if no one knows how to access it?
When planning for your digital assets, the first thing you should do is make a list of all your important accounts and passwords. If you don’t want to give anyone access to your online accounts until after you pass away, then set up a plan on how that person will be able to access the information when the time comes. This will involve writing down instructions in a secure location explaining which usernames and passwords need to be used for each account, along with any other requirements such as security questions required before being allowed access.
No matter what you decide to do, it is important to think about your digital assets and include them in your estate planning. By doing so, you can ensure that your loved ones have access to the information and memories they need after you’re gone.
If you live in the Southern Tier and need to determine if your digital assets have been planned for in your estate planning documents, we can help. Contact Roth Elder Law, PLLC at 607-962-6162 today for a consultation.