As more and more people acquire digital assets the need to protect these assets is one of the fastest growing areas of estate planning. These include email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, as well as personal web pages and other online property. Of course, the most valuable digital assets for most people will be their bank and financial accounts. Nowadays more people are receiving only electronics statements, which can make it difficult for one’s executor and heirs to locate all your assets and manage them at your death.
Some business digital assets are yet another category. For some, all or part of their business records may be online. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize the importance of protecting their digital assets or the difficulties that can arise for their estate when they fail to including their digital assets in their estate plan.
Integrating digital assets into your estate plan doesn’t cost much, but it does take some thought. The first thing to do is to take inventory of your digital assets. This will entail creating a list of websites where your entry is password-protected.
Deciding how digital assets are to be handled and transferred as part of your estate plan in the next step. The treatment assets receive will depend on the type of account. The instructions relevant to each account should be incorporated into estate planning documents.
Failing to take these steps can create problems for executors and heirs when it comes ties to take inventory of assets and get them distributed according to estate planning documents.
Source: Investing Daily, “Securing Your Digital Assets,” Bob Carlson, January 15, 2013