When we think of estate plans, we typically focus on those belongings we think of as having monetary value. Normally we consider both your ‘real property’ (land, homes, buildings) and ‘personal property’ or ‘tangible’ (‘touchable’) assets such as jewelry, artwork, money, and vehicles.
The world has changed. Many of us spend a large portion of our lives online. Because many of us are deeply invested and engaged in the online world, it is important to remember that your assets may include untraditional property, such as digital assets.
Digital assets consist are the things that you own online. We spend more time on computers and smartphones than ever before. It is easy to forget how much you may own that exists only in the digital world. Things like photos and videos or online accounts, cryptocurrency, and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
Why Is It Important to Plan for Digital Assets?
Planning for digital assets is critical. By the very nature of these assets, they are easy to misplace or lose. Without a plan, your digital assets may be lost or forgotten in the Internet and not pass to your loved ones after your death. This is because the existence of these assets not generally known to others.
If you plan for the retrieval and distribution of these assets now your family will not have to worry about hunting these items down after your death.
Also, like most adults (nearly 70 percent), you may want certain aspects of your digital life to remain private. Without prior consideration and contemplation of your online assets, your loved ones may learn things that you wish to keep secret.
Lastly, proper estate planning can minimize the risk of identity theft, which happens to 2.4 million deceased Americans every year. Keep reading to learn more about why it is important to include digital assets in your estate plan and how to account for them.