Estate planning provides the opportunity to review and account for all assets. Most people have plans that include tangible forms of property, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds and business interests. But did they remember to include digital assets?
Digital assets have grown in recent years and are tracking to continue to grow in the future. As a result, it is important to account for these assets within your estate plan.
What is considered a “digital asset” for estate planning purposes? Digital assets can include everything from cryptocurrency to online photo albums. Some of these assets hold monetary value while others are purely sentimental. It is important to include both within the estate plan.
When it comes to digital assets with monetary value, a recent report by Forbes notes the average American held over $55,000 in digital assets in 2013. This estimate has likely grown over the last six years.
These assets are important for individuals as well as businesses. A business owner that does not properly account for digital assets within its succession plan can experience a delay in operations.
How do I include these assets within my estate plan? Two steps are necessary:
- Location. First, keep track of where the digital assets are housed and necessary log-in information.
- Ownership rules. Next, review the Terms of Service Agreement for the digital asset to understand ownership rights. This agreement generally occurs when you select the “I Agree” button when starting the account. In most cases these assets are non-transferable. This means they do not automatically transfer to another individual. You must specifically provide this information for the transfer to occur.
Navigating the inclusion of digital assets is just one issue to address when putting together an estate plan. Legal counsel can help you craft a plan that addresses all assets and reflects your desires.