Digital Assets Becoming a Vital Part of Estate Planning

There are a lot of things that people don’t always like to think about in life, and one of them is certainly how they will plan out their estate. However, people should try to get in touch with an estate planning attorney as soon as possible when they realize that they might need this kind of assistance.

Your attorney can help you find the best place to do a will, and he or she can also provide you with the best estate planning tools on the market to help you get just what you need. Additionally, they will likely recommend that you create an asset checklist so you know exactly what you have and where it is going after you pass on.

If you have been wondering “can a financial planner prepare a will?” and similar inquiries, you need to know that the best place to turn for this type of help is to your attorney. They are the ideal choice because they have been in the business of helping people get their will set up for a very long time. When in doubt, always turn to these individuals for their experience and ability to get you the best result possible right from the start.

Deciding who will get items like a house, cars, jewelry, and cash can be quite difficult for individuals while they update their estate plans and wills. But today, with the growth of the internet, digital assets must also be included. It is a fairly new topic for concern for both consumers and their lawyers, but nowadays, digital assets should not be overlooked.

However, it often is. As Patricia Stalzer, Western regional trust services director for BMO Private Bank notes, “A lot of people haven’t focused on it.”

For those who want to make sure their digital assets are protected, there are a number of items to consider. The list of assets that could, theoretically, be passed on includes email accounts, domain names, social media profiles, PayPal accounts, online documents, and even iTunes accounts that could have thousands of dollars worth of multimedia files.

Interestingly enough, according to Samantha Kennedy in the Houston Business Journal, over 63% of high-net-worth individuals lack a strategy for managing digital assets and 45% do not even have organized passwords that can be shared with family members. Those who do, however, can make it easier on both themselves and their attorneys to create a proper estate plan.

“Digital assets should be included in a complete estate plan,” explains Carrie Quraishi, Estate Planning Attorney with the Quraishi Law Firm. “People need to take steps to make sure that their loved ones have the necessary access when access becomes necessary. This includes keeping a list of all online accounts and passwords, keeping them updated, and informing your fiduciary where this list is stored.”

Unfortunately, certain laws and regulations make it difficult for people to include digital assets in their estate plans. According to some experts, the rules associated with digital content have been traditionally been built to prevent hacking and identity theft, not with the loved ones of the deceased in mind.

“Every account you have online has a ‘terms of service’ agreement,” said Donald Rolfe of Rolfe Law Firm. “Most of them say they are non-transferable. No one else can use it except for you.”

In that regard, “The laws are really far behind,” he added.

Regardless of whether or not regulations change in the near future, digital assets have become an important part of estate planning. While maybe not as valuable as a home, they could help families cope with a loss more easily.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.