A comprehensive estate plan can include several documents covering numerous elements such as physical assets, financial wishes and medical directives. These documents can ultimately solidify communication regarding your desires about who gets what but can also reduce the potential for family battles over disputed property. It is important that you do not forget to include any digital assets in your estate plan.
In recent decades, individuals and families have come to rely more and more on digital assets. While these assets don’t have a physical component, they retain a great deal of value. It is important to consider who will take ownership upon your passing. Digital assets can include:
- Online storefronts: Individuals often devote significant time, energy and money into building a profitable online storefront. From items sold on eBay to Facebook Marketplace, it is crucial to build positive reviews, a solid transaction history and a clean web presence. It is important to pass these assets on to someone who will continue to maintain the storefront.
- Social networking sites: This can include sites like Facebook or Instagram as well as a blog or video hosting site. In your estate plan, you should leave detailed instructions regarding login information and file-hosting sites. Additionally, you should give written permission to the heir to change passwords or make additional alterations. Failure to do so might trigger privacy protection and lock your intended successor out of his or her access.
- Entertainment collections: While it is still common to see shelves full of books and DVDs in a loved one’s home, more often than not, they maintain an equally large collection of digital entertainment. Books, movies, music and video games can all be downloaded and stored on a computer or purchased to stream from the cloud. However they are stored, it is wise to mention these collections in your will along with explicit instructions that the heir is now the rightful owner of any digital assets.
As the laws around digital assets continue to evolve, it is wise to work with an experienced estate plan attorney who can provide the answers and guidance you need.