Physical property and financial accounts are often among someone’s most valuable assets. The home where they live could represent multiple decades of household income, and their bank accounts may contain the majority of their financial resources.
Addressing someone’s largest assets with direct financial value is a very important consideration during estate planning. However, testators may also have valuable assets that are not physically transferable. For example, digital property has become increasingly important to people’s social lives and investment portfolios in recent years and must be transferred in specific ways.
Even those who don’t think they need to address digital property in their estate plans will likely benefit from reviewing their digital assets before making that decision.
Social media and photo repositories have emotional value
Even those who have never thought about investing in actual digital property may still have resources that they need to address in an estate plan. Their social media pages may need to switch over to a memorialized page when they die, or they may want to arrange to have loved ones take control of their social media presence.
Many people also have digital storage, including cloud photograph and document storage services. Access to those electronic resources will be important for family members when someone dies, which means that having the right paperwork in place and leaving instructions about those digital resources is an important part of modern estate planning.
Actual digital assets could be worth thousands
Whether someone purchased a couple of domain names that people could eventually resell or they have cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or similar digital property in their names, they will need to make sure they disclose those resources and provide proper instructions and legal authority for those they want to inherit those assets.
Given that there is no centralized banking system for electronic resources, such assets are easy for families to overlook during estate administration. The best way to protect families and ensure they inherit everything they should and gain access to crucial online assets like photo storage is to address someone’s electronic resources in their estate plan along with their other valuable property.
Modernizing an estate plan and continuing to revisit it with the assistance of a legal professional when life changes will be beneficial for those with valuable property and dependent family members.