Estate Plan and Your Digital Assets

Oct 25, 2023

digital assetsAs the digital age progresses, the scope of estate planning is no longer confined to physical assets and financial accounts. Digital assets have become a significant part of one’s estate, requiring comprehensive planning for smooth transition and management. At The Towne Law Firm, P.C., our estate planning attorneys in Albany, NY can guide you in your estate planning, getting you through the intricate maze of laws, rules, and regulations that govern the virtual world.

What Are Digital Assets?

Digital assets are rights or records stored in binary format, encompassing a wide variety of digital property. They often have significant financial or sentimental value and can be crucial components in estate planning for digital assets. The following is a list of commonly held digital assets that could be considered in an estate plan:

  • Digital Currencies: This includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies that could have substantial financial value.
  • Financial Accounts: Online-only bank accounts, PayPal, and other financial platforms where significant assets might be stored.
  • Social Media Accounts: Profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn often hold sentimental value and may contain irreplaceable photos and communications.
  • Online Businesses: E-commerce stores, blogs, or any other types of businesses operated primarily online.
  • Digital Documents: Important files and personal documents stored on cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox.
  • Email Accounts: Email is often the gateway to resetting passwords and accessing other online accounts, making them crucial digital assets.
  • Virtual Property: Items or currency in virtual worlds or online games can sometimes be sold for real-world money.
  • Digital Media: Downloaded music, movies, and books can also be considered assets, especially if they were purchased rather than rented.
  • Domain Names: These can often be overlooked, but they can hold significant value, especially for online businesses or personal branding.
  • Investment Accounts: Online portfolios or trading accounts such as Robinhood.

When planning your estate, it’s essential to inventory these and other digital assets you may possess. Many of them have both monetary and sentimental value that can be lost if not appropriately managed in an estate plan.

Estate Plan for Digital Assets

The absence of a digital estate plan can result in substantial difficulties for heirs and estate executors. Without access to online accounts, families may lose valuable assets or sentimental keepsakes forever. An estate planning lawyer in Albany, NY, can offer guidance on how to include these digital assets effectively in your estate plan. Here are some recommendations:

  • Inventory of Digital Assets: List out all the digital assets you own, including online accounts, social media, and digital files.
  • Designate Digital Executor: Choose a tech-savvy and trustworthy individual to manage and distribute your digital assets according to your wishes.
  • Access Credentials: Document all necessary access credentials but ensure they are stored securely.
  • Include Digital Assets in Legal Documents: Specify your intentions about your digital assets in your will or a separate document.
  • Review and Update: Regularly revisit your digital estate plan to include new assets or update existing directives.

New York law provides legal clarity on how your designated executor can access and manage your online assets.  For a thorough grasp of New York state laws and seamless access to digital assets after one’s passing, it is imperative to seek guidance from an experienced Albany, NY estate planning attorney.

Start Including Your Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

Estate planning for digital assets is no longer an option but a necessity. As we continue to integrate our lives with the digital world, it becomes imperative to adapt our estate plans accordingly. We, at The Towne Law Firm, P.C., are committed to providing top-notch legal solutions for estate planning in the digital era. Our team is adept at estate planning tools that fit the ever-evolving digital landscape, ensuring that your assets, both tangible and digital, are well-protected and effectively managed. Contact us today for a consultation to ensure that your digital assets receive the attention they deserve.