Have you taken the time to include your digital assets in your estate plan? A thorough estate plan should account for the protection, and eventual disposition, of all your estate assets, including your digital assets. Depending on your age, you may completely understand what is meant by “digital assets” or not even realize you have digital assets. Even if you are among the age group that is often unaware they own digital assets, chances are very good that you do. Even if you are aware that you own digital assets, you may have not yet included them in your estate plan.
In today’s electronic age almost everything you do involves a computer. Telephone calls are now made primarily over cellular telephones. Correspondence is increasingly accomplished through email. Bank accounts are accessed and reviewed over the computer. Bills are paid and shopping done over the internet. One thing all of these things have in common is that they require log in and password information to gain access. Have you ever stopped to consider what would happen to all those accounts if something happened to you? Who would be able to access your email, bank accounts, or Facebook account? Who would you want to have access?
Like many people, most of your financial records may now be stored electronically as well. Everything from your day to day checking to your retirement plan and stock portfolio are likely accessed electronically. You may not even receive paper statements on a monthly basis anymore. If you were to die tomorrow, how would your Executor access those statements and records?
Finally, you may even have income producing digital assets as well. Do you have your own website for a small business? Do you regularly sell on eBay? Do you have a monetized blog? If so, all of these are income producing digital assets that not only require a password to access but can actually be gifted to a beneficiary if you choose to do so in your estate plan.
At a bare minimum you need to decide who will be granted access to important financial accounts if your records are stored electronically. During the probate of your estate your Executor will need information from those accounts. Therefore, you need to decide who will be granted access and arrange for log in and password information to be left for that individual. If you have valuable digital assets as well they need to be addressed individually in your estate plan as they are devisable assets, just like your house, car, and financial accounts.
If you have additional questions or concerns about handling digital assets, or estate planning in general, contact the experienced New York estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.