If you own digital assets, you need to include them when you plan your estate. You should also update an existing estate plan to cover digital property such as social media accounts, video and photo files, and domain names.
Review these considerations when estate planning for these and other digital assets.
Inventory your digital property
Create a comprehensive list of your digital assets and their value, including but not limited to:
- Avatars in games that provide services or products for real money
- Monetized online video channels and social media accounts
- Blogs and websites
- Online gambling accounts
- Rights to digital theater works, movies, music or literature
- Domain names
- Digital videos and photos
- Non-fungible tokens
- Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin
- Digital music files
Periodically review your list to incorporate new types of technology and changing values.
Your family members must be able to access these digital assets when settling your estate. Your estate plan should include a thorough list of passwords and complete asset instructions that will go to your executor or personal representative upon your death. Without such a list, ever-evolving digital privacy laws can make it difficult for your family to enter your accounts even with the help of a computer professional.
Create backups of cloud data and store them in an online safe deposit box. You can also back up digital copies of important documents such as wills, birth certificates, tax records, account statements and insurance policies.
Your will should give explicit permission for your executor or other family members to access your online accounts. Doing so can streamline the process of transferring these assets to your intended beneficiaries.