Typically, an estate plan addresses one’s tangible assets, such as cash and securities, real estate holdings, motor vehicles, and personal items (i.e., family heirlooms and jewelry). In 2022 however, people are increasingly living in a digital world, where prized possessions include online bank accounts, social media accounts and other significant items protected “in the cloud.” It is important not to neglect these digital assets. Consider the following:
Be proactive in approaching digital assets. Collect all the relevant information on your family’s behalf, which includes a list of email addresses, usernames, and passwords for all of your digital accounts. Because you’re periodically required to change passwords for security purposes, try to keep this list updated. Consider using a pass- word manager program for convenience.
Make sure to address the list of your digital assets in your will and trust documents. It is important that you assign authority to manage the assets of financial accounts and provide for their ultimate distribution. In addition, determine who will be the beneficiaries of digitally stored photographs or music and other items of sentimental value. You don’t want to have your kids fighting over these when you’re gone.
Incorporate this concept into a durable power of attorney (POA). Don’t stop at your will and trust. If you don’t already have a POA in place, now’s as good a time as any to create this legal document. It enables a designated party to act on your behalf in a multitude of situations.
As with other components of your estate plan, review the documents relating to your digital assets on a regular basis.
If you have questions about digital assets, Scarola Law is here to help. Schedule your free consultation today!