Individuals of all ages need to take the time to develop a comprehensive estate plan. This set of documents allows people to determine and clearly state inheritance, powers of attorney, trustees, guardians and countless other factors. It is crucial, however, to remember to include instructions surrounding digital assets as well as physical ones.
As years go by, people are starting to take more and more advantage of digital assets based on their convenience and ease of transfer. Examples of digital assets can include:
- Entertainment media: These are generally collections curated over the years. This can include downloaded movies, for example, or a Kindle book collection. Additionally, an iTunes music collection can grow to encompass an entire family’s musical tastes.
- Online stores: Options used to be limited when people wanted to sell personal merchandise. Now, it can be easily accomplished online through eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Mercari and countless other interfaces. While anyone can sell merchandise, a well-developed online presence with a built-in customer base and numerous positive reviews can be priceless.
- Online currency: This can quickly become a valuable catch-all category, but one that cannot be ignored. This can include cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, a retail gift card or bonuses tied to a credit card such as cash-back or airline miles.
It is important to carefully list these digital assets in your estate planning documents. Additionally, you should list login information such as passwords as well as approval to change the existing login. It is also wise to leave explicit legal authorization for your surviving loved ones to access or transfer these assets.
No matter your age, health or wealth it is crucial that you take the time to develop an estate plan. It is easy to forget certain aspects and it is wise to take your time to consider all contingencies.