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Including your digital assets in your estate plan

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2022 | Estate Planning

Many valuable assets these days aren’t anything you can put your hands on. They’re digital. Two kinds that have grown in popularity in recent years are cryptocurrency and nonfungible tokens (NFTs). 

With these two assets, if no one can access them, that’s money down the drain – possibly a lot of money. When you decide whom you want to inherit these cryptographic assets, you need to do two things: give them legal authorization to have them by including them in your will and give them the information they need to access them. Maintaining an inventory of these assets and keeping it current can help your executor and your beneficiaries know exactly what they’re dealing with.

Photos and other images

Other important digital assets that can have significant sentimental value are photos and videos you have stored online. Most people’s recent pictures and videos are typically only accessible on a device. However, if you have also converted old photos, videotapes, slides and other images to a digital format, your entire life as well as family photos going back generations may be online as well. 

If you want children or grandchildren to have them or perhaps even leave some to a local historical society, it’s wise to include them in your will and make sure that someone, either your executor or the family member inheriting them, knows how to access them.

Passwords for accounts and devices

Speaking of access, most people have a multitude of accounts of various types that we access online – from bank accounts to streaming services and utility accounts. All have user IDs and passwords. If you don’t have a spreadsheet already with all of this information, you should make one. Then keep it safe and let your executor know how to access it.

There are password managers and online storage sites for this information. You might also put it on a password-protected document on your computer. Make sure your executor has the information they need to access it. They should also have the passcodes they need to get into all of your devices – including your phone.

It’s a lot to think about, but it’s a crucial part of developing an estate plan that will be as unproblematic as possible for your loved ones after you’re gone. With experienced legal guidance, you won’t forget important steps in handling down your digital assets – both monetary and sentimental.