Back in the day, all property and records related to monetary assets were tangible. From an estate administration perspective, trustees and executors would handle hard copies of everything, and property of value would be physical.
Now, the playing field has changed since we spend so much of our lives in a virtual space. This shift has added a new facet to the estate planning process. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the steps that you can take when you are planning your estate to account for digital property.
Inventory Your Assets
The first step will be to inventory all of your digital assets and the accounts that you manage online. These items would include computer hardware and software, domain names, websites, blogs, and copyrighted material that you may have stored digitally.
You should also take stock of all of the different accounts that you manage through the Internet, and you have to gather all of the login information to pass along to the administrator.
Cryptocurrency can also enter the picture. This is an evolving area that you should discuss with a lawyer because transfers must be facilitated in accordance with all applicable laws.
In addition to virtual materials that have monetary significance, you should include your email and social media accounts.
Identify a Digital Executor
Once you know what you have, you should designate an executor to handle your digital property. It can be the same administrator that is named in your legally binding estate planning documents, or it can be someone else that will work in conjunction with the executor and/or trustee.
What Do You Want to Do With the Assets?
The next course of action is to determine how you want the administrator to deal with these digital assets. You can record these instructions in a legally binding manner with the assistance of an estate planning attorney.
We can also give you guidance with regard to the options that are available to you for each different form of digital property.
Store the Information
Once you have accomplished all the above, you have to store the information in some way. You do not want to put access information in a last will because it would become public after you pass away. Anyone that is interested could access probate records to see what was contained in the will. Instead, there are cloud-based storage solutions. You can alternately go the old-school route and keep a hard copy document in a locked cabinet or safe. In some cases, your attorney may store the information for you.
Access Our Estate Planning Worksheet
Our attorneys have prepared an estate planning worksheet that you can go through to learn more about this important process. This resource is being offered on a complementary basis, and you can visit our worksheet access page to get your copy.
Schedule a Consultation!
Now is the time for action if you are going through life without an estate plan, and if you have not looked at your plan in years, a review is in order.
You can request a consultation appointment if you send us a message, and our North Carolina office can be reached at 704-944-3245 (Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC). In Kentucky, the number is 606-324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or 859-372-6655 (Florence, KY).