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Addressing digital assets is essential with estate planning

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2021 | Estate Planning |

In San Jose and across California, estate planning is taking on newfound urgency. People are increasingly concerned about the future, taking care of their loved ones and what will happen to their possessions after they are gone. This requires preparation and attention. Creating an estate plan is always a smart step, but there are aspects that can be forgotten when doing so. With digital assets a part of just about everyone’s daily life, it has become critical to know the value of addressing them as part of an estate plan. Having professional advice to do this properly is key.

Essential points of digital estate planning

While digital assets include financial vehicles, it also includes all aspects of a person’s online life. Social media accounts, e-books, entertainment sites and more. This should be mentioned in an estate plan. People might think that accounts they no longer use need not be mentioned, but this is a mistake. If they remain intact, they should be part of the estate plan in some way. Otherwise, deleting them may be the preferable course of action. For people who have a business, a blog, a website or other online outlet, it will likely have some value. Its value might be significant. Domain names are easy to forget and can be lost if they are not updated regularly and maintained. A digital estate plan can accomplish this.

Not having a digital estate plan can prove problematic when a person dies. Just as an estate plan is created to detail who will received tangible property like real estate, sentimental items, automobiles, collectibles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments and more, digital assets can also be left to loved ones and heirs. Without mentioning these assets, they could end up going to people the testator would not normally have wanted to have them. With non-fungible tokens (NFT), the newness can hinder attempts to pass it along to heirs. Still, as time passes, there may be advancements as there have been with cryptocurrency, allowing it to transfer to another person after death.

Estate planning for digital assets generally requires experienced advice

To ensure digital estate planning goes smoothly, it is useful to name a trusted person to oversee it and have the testator’s wishes completed as planned. To know the nuance as to how to accomplish this, it is imperative to have legal guidance from the start. Those experienced in all areas of estate planning can protect a person’s personal and financial interests and make sure even understated areas like digital assets are handled appropriately for the desired outcome.