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Tips for including digital assets in your estate plan

In a recent post, we brought up the importance of including digital assets in estate planning. As we noted, a little planning in this area can go a long way toward making things easier for loved ones.

One simple strategy for digital assets is to keep the most important digital assets stored on more than just social media accounts, such as backing them up on a USB flash drive. This can work for some digital assets, but a more comprehensive approach may be needed.

First of all, one should make a list of all digital accounts. These include social media, email, online banking, faming, investment, and other virtual profiles. Login information, including usernames and passwords, as well as any other necessary information, should be included in the list. This will ensure that everything ins in one spot.

It is smart to inform one’s estate planning attorney where to find the list and to provide him or her with instructions for how the information should be handled. This could mean deleting the information or notifying the company to memorialize the page, as is sometimes done with Facebook accounts.

For those who have a will, it is smart to include digital assets in there, as some online information has financial value, sometimes a significant amount. Interestingly, a recent survey by McAfee found that, on average, Americans believe they have about $55,000 worth of digital assets, so it is good to include these in one’s will.

It is wise to work with an experienced attorney on all estate planning matters, including digital assets. Doing so will ensure that they are included in one’s overall plan.

Source: nj,com, “How to protect your digital life with estate plans,” March 2, 2013