Written by Jay Green, Esq., CPA –
Digital assets refer to any electronically stored information or data owned by an individual, including cryptocurrencies, online accounts, digital files, and social media accounts. Digital assets include a wide range, such as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, email and social media accounts, digital photos and videos, digital documents, and online subscriptions.
Identify and inventory digital assets.
Start by taking a detailed inventory of all your digital assets, including the respective platforms or accounts where they are held. Ensure that your login credentials, security keys, and any other necessary information required to access each digital asset are documented. Clearly define who owns each digital asset and specify the intended beneficiaries or heirs.
Understanding of digital asset laws and terms of service.
Learn about the laws governing digital assets in your country or state, as they can vary widely. Read and understand the terms of service for each platform or account to learn how to handle digital assets after the death of the owner.
Designate a digital or trusted port.
Choose a trusted individual or professional to act as your digital executor, responsible for managing and distributing your digital assets according to your wishes. Clearly name the person you want to fill this role in your estate plan. Provide detailed instructions about how you want your digital outlet to handle your digital assets, including accessing and distributing them.
Secure your digital assets.
Enhance the security of your online accounts with strong, unique passwords, multi-factor authentication, and encryption where possible. Store passwords and other access credentials in a secure, password-protected manner, using tools such as password managers or encrypted files. If you own cryptocurrency, consider using hardware wallets to securely store your private keys offline.
Include digital assets in your will or trust.
Ensure that your will or trust expressly includes provisions regarding the distribution of digital assets. Clearly define how your digital outlet should access and distribute your digital assets. Regularly review and update your real estate plan to include any new digital assets you acquire.
Create a digital asset license document.
Create a document that gives specific or trusted individuals the authority to access and manage your digital assets. Clearly define the level of access that designated individuals should have to avoid unauthorized use. Keep the authorization document in a safe place, and inform your digital outlet and trusted individuals of its existence.
Provide instructions for social media and online presence.
Decide if you want your social media accounts to be memorialized or deleted after your death. Designate someone to handle your online presence, respond to messages, and follow your wishes regarding your digital legacy. Identify any postmortem or memorial preferences you may have for your online accounts.
Discuss your digital estate plan with family members.
Communicate with your family and loved ones about the existence and purpose of your digital real estate plan. Make sure your family knows who will be responsible for handling your digital assets. Be open to addressing any concerns or questions your family may have regarding your digital assets and estate plan.
Regularly review and update your digital estate plan.
Plan a regular review of your digital asset inventory and estate plan to keep it updated with changes in your digital life. Update access credentials and authorization documents as needed due to password changes or other security updates. Stay informed of any changes in laws and regulations related to digital assets to ensure your estate plan remains legally compliant.
If you are looking for assistance with your estate planning needs, or would like to discuss how we can assist your loved ones with their plans, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or call us at 415-905-0215.
California Code of Conduct Statements: The material in this article was prepared by Attorney Jay Green for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Individuals should consult an estate planning attorney and senior attorney for updated information on their individual plans.
Jay Green, Attorney, CPA, is the founder of the Greene Estate, Probate, & Elder Law Firm based in San Francisco, focused on helping LGBT individuals, couples, and families plan for their futures, protect their assets, and preserve their wealth. For more information and to schedule an evaluation, visit: https://assetprotectionbayarea.com/
Posted August 24, 2023