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Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Butler Law Sept. 27, 2018

Estate planning for Myrtle Beach residents is constantly evolving. Estate planning does not just involve wills and trusts, but also can encompass guardianship designations, power of attorney, pet trusts, and digital asset planning. Digital assets are important assets that often are forgotten in estate planning. Including them allows a family to manage assets easier after a person’s death and makes sure they are not lost or forgotten.

Almost everyone these days has some sort of digital presence. Many people access their bank accounts online, or they have an online only bank account. There is also digital money, like bitcoins. And social media is something most of us can’t avoid. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, are just a few examples of websites many frequently visit. Many people also store their pictures in online websites and have digital music accounts and shop on websites like Amazon.

If these assets are not included in an estate plan, estate executors may not be able to access them or many not even know they exist. These assets can easily be lost forever. In addition, an estate’s digital assets are also vulnerable to hacking as many are linked to bank accounts. It is important for a person to create an inventory of their digital assets. All websites need to be listed along with passwords and log on usernames. A password manager is a useful tool that can safely store this information and share with an estate executor. A digital asset plan should also be included with an estate plan. The digital asset plan would include a person’s intent as to what should be done with the assets upon their death.

Digital assets are an important part of estate planning. An attorney who specializes in estate planning can help their client create an estate plan that incorporates all of their digital assets and includes what they want to happen to them upon their death.