How to Handle Digital Assets
You should consider including digital assets in your estate plan to make sure that your cryptocurrencies, email accounts, and other online accounts and assets are in the right hands.
When most people think about estate planning, they think about wills and trusts that are intended to protect our homes, automobiles, and other types of physical property. However, our digital assets are becoming more valuable than some physical ones, which is why it is vital to understand who will take control of your digital assets after your passing.
Only 7% of Americans do not use the Internet, which is why it is fair to say that nearly everyone has digital assets. Digital assets range from email and social media accounts to cryptocurrencies.
What will happen to your digital assets after you are gone? Since each case is unique, it is important to consult with a Pearland estate planning attorney to protect your digital and physical assets.
What are the Examples of Digital Assets?
Some of the most common examples of digital assets include but are not limited to:
- Email accounts
- Social media accounts
- Online storage accounts
- Word documents and PDFs
- Photos and videos
- Content and data shared online
How to Protect Your Digital Assets?
If you have digital assets that you need to protect with an estate plan, the first step is to take inventory of your online accounts, content, digital currency, and other digital assets. In other words, you need to identify all digital assets that you want to protect.
You will also need to determine what you want to happen to your digital assets when you die. Many states, such as Texas, do not have laws that would allow third parties, including the decedent’s surviving family members, to access digital assets after the owner’s death.
The executor of the decedent’s estate may contact the company that hosts their digital assets to request access. However, the company is likely to deny access by arguing that the decedent’s information is governed by an agreement between the decedent and the company, not their estate planning documents.
The agreement may prohibit the company from sharing access to a person’s accounts or transferring information to third parties. Whether or not you can protect a digital asset with an estate plan depends on the type of the asset.
For many people, the only way to ensure that their surviving family members have access to their digital assets and online accounts is by sharing passwords with their loved ones before the death or leaving account information handy so that their loved ones can find that information after the death.
Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney to Protect Your Digital Assets
In the era of the Internet, it is important to make sure that your digital assets end up in the right hands following your death. Whether or not you can include your digital assets in your estate plan depends on your particular situation. It is advisable to speak with an attorney to discuss your options.
Our estate planning attorneys at John Powell III, P.C., can help you handle your digital assets. Call 281-747-6346 to schedule a case evaluation.