Top Five Estate Planning Tips for Your Digital Assets

December 15, 2016 Posted In Drafting Wills,Estate Planning,Powers of Attorney

Top 5 Estate Planning Tips for Your Digital Assets

Top Five Estate Planning Tips for Your Digital Assets

Incorporating digital assets in your estate plan can be an important part of developing a comprehensive estate plan.

Here are some helpful tips to get you started thinking about and properly managing your digital assets so they aren’t compromised (or forgotten about) in the future:

    1. Keep a list of your online accounts – In other words, develop an “inventory” of all of your accounts and assets that are kept (or managed) online. This can include retirement accounts, bank accounts, PayPay accounts, and eBay accounts. It can also include music and photos stored online, social media accounts, and liability-related accounts (like credit card accounts). As part of this inventory, be sure to include the login credentials for each account, as well as any security-related information (like security questions and answers) that a third-party could use to access your account (from a different computer) in the future (whenever or if necessary).
    2. Consider using a password manager – There are a number of password management services available online, and using one as a “vault” for all of your passwords can be extremely helpful when it comes to estate planning for your digital assets. This can circumvent the need to list out all login information (and it can facilitate the process of accessing your accounts and online assets when a personal representative, executor or agent needs to do so in the future).
    3. Figure out which digital assets can be transferred – For some online assets, you may be able to designate a beneficiary now via “transfer-on-death” or “payable-on-death” (TOD or POD) options. For instance, bank and retirement accounts often provide this option, allowing you to effectively name an heir (or multiple heirs) for these assets. Additionally, if you use TOD or POD options, these assets can be directly transferred to the beneficiary without the need for probate.
    4. Tell a trusted loved one where your digital asset inventory list is – Make sure at least one of your loved ones is aware that you’ve created a digital asset inventory and that (s)he knows exactly where this inventory is stored (so (s)he can readily access it whenever needed in the future). As part of this step, it can be helpful to create at least two copies (physical and digital copies) so there’s a backup of the inventory (in case anything happens to either version).
    5. Periodically update your digital asset inventory – Once you have developed a digital asset inventory, do not make the mistake of forgetting about it, or thinking that you’re all done with this aspect of estate planning. As with your entire estate plan, it is important to regularly revisit your digital asset inventory list and update it as needed. This will ensure that your list is accurate and reflects all of your current online holdings, accounts and liabilities at any given point.

Contact a Denver Estate Planning Attorney at Phillips & Blow, PC

When you are ready to develop, update or administer an estate plan, you can turn to an experienced Denver estate planning attorney at Phillips & Blow, PC. Our lawyers are proud to help each of our clients and their families navigate the complexities of the estate planning and administration processes.

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We can discuss your estate planning needs and different options during our consultation. To schedule this meeting, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

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