March 7, 2022

If not adequately provided for, digital assets can present unique difficulties for loved ones when someone passes away. Because they are newer than traditional assets, digital assets are often overlooked in estate plans, leaving friends and family members unsure of the deceased person’s wishes. They can also become difficult or impossible to access if no one knows the login information for online accounts, and service providers might not grant access because of their privacy policies.

How Can I Provide for These Assets in My Estate Plan?

Follow these steps to ensure that your digital assets will be provided for without causing additional stress or confusion for loved ones.

Compile a list of your digital assets.

This inventory can be created similarly to one for physical assets. Pay special attention to any digital asset with intrinsic value, such as cryptocurrency or a monetized blog, and inform your counsel of these items to ensure they are properly included in your estate plan.

Write down passwords.

List the login names, passwords and answers to any security questions for all your digital accounts to ensure the appropriate people can access your assets. Store this list in a safe place.

Designate your wishes for your digital assets.

Maybe you want your brother to own your photos and share them with any family members who want a copy. Perhaps you decide that the website domain for your family business will be transferred to your daughter, who has inherited the business. You might choose to split the resources from your monetized digital assets to support your children and your favorite charity. Whatever your wishes, make sure they are in writing so that your loved ones can confidently carry them out.

Appoint a digital executor.

Like a traditional executor, a digital executor is someone who will manage your digital assets according to your wishes. You can also include language when designating a power of attorney to allow that person to handle your digital assets if you become incapacitated.

By taking actions like these, you can ensure that your digital assets will transfer securely, giving you and your loved ones peace of mind that nothing will become lost in cyberspace.

For more information on estate planning, contact Angela Throne ’03 at the bottom of this page.