In today’s electronic age, a whole new category of assets must be considered when creating or updating your estate plan – digital assets. Many do not realize they own digital assets. However, regardless of your age, the odds are good that you do. With that in mind, it helps to have some idea how to handle digital assets in your estate plan.
What is a digital asset?
Take a minute to consider your average day. If you are like most people, you spend a decent amount of your time on your cell phone, computer, and/or tablet. Perhaps you conduct business on your electronic devices. For example, you might access your financial accounts and pay bills over the computer. You may also do a good deal of shopping on the internet. Not to mention, we live in an age in which much of our personal communication is digital. Email and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn are the mediums for most of our modern communication. Each of these accounts and/or websites that you access electronically likely have a log in name and a password. Those login names and passwords are digital assets of the simplest sort.
Your digital world, however, may be even bigger. Do you have a website or a blog that is monetized? Do you actively trade securities online? Does anything else you do electronically earn income? If so, you have another set of digital assets that must not only be protected but can also be gifted to beneficiaries in your estate plan.
How to take a digital assets inventory
The first thing you need to do with your digital assets is to make a complete list of all of them. Dedicate a few days to this process. Pay attention to every time you access an account online and write it down along with the corresponding log in and password. Next, decide who you wish to have access to those accounts should something happen to you. For most people, this will include the Executor of their estate. This is because your Executor must locate all estate assets after your death.
Keep in mind, however, that you should also designate someone to take control of your digital assets in the event of your incapacity. Many of those assets likely relate to your financial accounts and bills. You will also need to decide to whom you wish to gift your digital assets that produce income.
Finally, be sure to update your estate plan as your digital asset portfolio changes and grows. If you have additional questions or concerns about digital assets and how they fit into your Texas estate plan, contact the experienced Texas estate planning attorneys at The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. by calling 281-759-3213 to schedule your appointment today.