Do you know that family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation? Maybe it’s an antique clock or some expensive china, but whatever the case, you can thank thorough estate planning for the reason that the heirloom has made its way from great-great grandpa to you and your kids.
However, we now live in a world where not every significant item in your possession is something tangible that you can hold in your hands. Instead, we are finding that the world has gone digital. With the rise in technology like smartphones, a significant portion of our assets these days are digital. Emails, domain names that you own, social media accounts, business website, and photos and videos are all assets that your estate planning should properly address as some, if not all have just as much value as the family heirloom.
It is important to make sure you are detailed in your estate planning, specifically with your digital assets and to understand the types of obstacles that could interfere with your family attaining your digital property.
Why it is Important to Address Your Digital Assets in Your Estate Planning
Think about all the digital assets you own. Whether it’s photos from a fun family trip, video of birthday celebration, your website, your Facebook and Instagram accounts, any bitcoin you own or anything else that holds value to you, whether financially or sentimentally. Just like traditional estate planning, you want all your assets to be set aside for your family if something happens to you. With these digital assets, you want the same thing. It can be near impossible for your family to attain access to some of these assets for the following reasons:
Laws (Criminal and Data Privacy)
There are both state and federal laws that can prohibit the access to private personal data from anyone other than the digital asset owner. These laws have their place, as they protect people from fraud and stolen data, but these same laws can also make it near impossible for family members to gain access to your digital assets after your passing. While some companies, like Facebook, allow for the family members of a deceased individual to gain access to the deceased member’s account, others are not so lenient. Because of this, it is essential that your estate plan gives your fiduciaries authorization for these accounts and other digital assets.
Unless your family members know that your passwords for your digital assets, they’re going to have a difficult time guessing correctly. While there are some passwords that experts in the field may be able to bypass, other websites and apps can be near impossible to get through. In your estate plan, you should have a section for all your passwords so that your family can easily access these assets.
Unless one of your family members is an encryption specialist or professional hacker, they may have a tough time accessing your digitally stored data, which may be encrypted. The best example is the smartphones we see today. It can be impossible to access these phones without the passcode because of their heavy encryption. So, once again, leaving a list of your passwords within your estate plan will help avoid these frustrations.
Need Help With Your Estate Planning?
If you’re concerned about whether or not you’re prepared for any unforeseen circumstances that may affect your family, contact us today to get your estate planning documents in order to protect your family in case something were to happen. A detailed estate plan helps lay out your wishes and helps ensure your legacy lives on. Trust Point will help you build a successful plan that will protect you and your family’s future for the long term.
We avoid a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to your estate planning because we realize that every situation is different. Let us help you plan and preserve your legacy, so your loved ones are protected.