It seems like every time we turn on the news, we hear about a new cryptocurrency making early investors millions. Indeed, Bitcoin or Dogecoin seem to be in the news at least once a week. These are the digital assets that most people are familiar with: cryptocurrencies. However, there is an entire world of other digital assets that need to be included estate plans.
Social media is a digital asset
What happens to our social media at death? If it is not in an estate plan, one’s entire social media becomes a zombie, still there, forever active, but never changing. Some social media websites will not give access to anyone other than the owner, regardless of a power of attorney, and others may even delete the account when notice of death is given. However, some families want to keep these digital assets for posterity, or create a permanent, digital memorial for their loved one. Without access though (usernames, passwords and a power of attorney), our families may not be able to use our social media.
Bills as digital assets
Another digital asset that is often overlooked are bills, including streaming platforms, utilities, student loans, rent and mortgage payments, etc. If one is incapacitated, some of these bills should still be paid, while others can probably be put on hold. Though, again, without access (usernames, passwords and a power of attorney), our families will not have access. Indeed, some bills refuse to take payments from unauthorized individuals. If one is married, and the other spouse does not have access to the utility accounts, they could face no power, no heat, no water and even an eviction or foreclosure.
Brokerage accounts, banking accounts, crypto-wallets, and other financial accounts should also be included. Most Haddonfield, New Jersey, residents realize this, and access is granted through a power of attorney. However, an easier way to grant immediate access is often with a username and password.