Digital assets are anything of potential value that is stored online or in digital format. An obvious example would be an online bank account; a less obvious example might include someone’s social media page or online brand.
Digital assets are just coming into play as a major part of estate plans for many people, and many people are learning the importance of digital planning only after it is too late. An associate director with The American College’s Center for Retirement Income says that some families only think to address the issue once someone has passed away that providers, such as Internet services, will not give them passwords or log-in information.
With many account management services moving to online formats, providing trustees and executors of estate documents with all the information necessary to perform duties is required. Some of that information might include passwords and logins for online banking accounts. Individuals might consider keeping lists of this information with a trusted individual or in a safe-deposit box.
Not all digital assets have an exact cash value like a bank or retirement account does. Some digital assets might be creative or business related. For example, an individual might use their Dropbox account to store creative writing drafts or business records. This information might be of value to heirs or business partners, which means it should be included in estate plans.
With a growing number of things to consider in planning for an estate, individuals might need more than just a basic will. Legal professionals can offer advice about various ways to pass on real property as well as digital assets to heirs.
Source: Bankrate, “Create a digital estate plan,” Jennie L. Phipps, accessed Sep. 29, 2015