Digital Assets and Estate Planning: What You Need to Know

Estate planning is dynamic—it changes as assets and technology evolve. Even if you already have an estate plan in place, you will benefit from a revised plan to account for your inevitable change in assets. In particular, the digitization of assets has paved the way for a new era of estate planning.

The Digital Shift: What are Digital Assets?

Old woman with smartphone and laptop. Concept image of ‘Digital Assets and Estate Planning: What You Need to Know” | Niswanger Law in West Monroe, LA.

The ownership of digital property is becoming normative as society gradually transitions toward the following new forms of value:

  • Cryptocurrency
  • NFTs
  • Assets held in digital accounts
  • Other non-traditional forms of asset ownership

Even if you own only a small amount of digital property, it is in your interest to develop a new estate plan with the optimal strategy. 

As an example, as time progresses, more people are owning digital assets, such as domain names. Perhaps you have a social media account with thousands of followers that holds considerable value. Even digital photos constitute digital assets. 

Even if you don’t own digital properties, it is still in your interest to create a list of these assets and accounts along with passwords so your family members can access them if you become ill, incapacitated, or pass away. Ideally, all data of value should be backed up and stored on the cloud or USB.

Why Digital Asset Estate Planning is so Important

An estate plan lacking information about digital assets will likely result in a legal challenge to the will. Moreover, such an inadequate estate plan will also prevent family and other deserving parties from obtaining access to your digital assets when something happens to you.

Take a moment to consider the extent of your online and digital footprint. You may have a YouTube or Rumble video channel with thousands of subscribers. Even something like a gaming avatar or social media profile can be worth thousands of dollars. Others have blogs, online sports gambling accounts, or digital rights to movies, music, and other digital art forms.

Seize the Opportunity to Plan for the Future

Be proactive, and prepare for the inevitable time you become incapacitated or pass away. You’ll sleep soundly knowing your estate plan addresses all potential digital asset challenges. 

Aside from passwords, those named in your will should also have additional important information for access, such as private keys for digital wallets. Such passwords and keys are necessary to access valuable digital data, especially if it is encrypted.

Prepare your email accounts by writing down your email address and password. Though some email inboxes are laden with spam and meaningless messages, many contain sentimental messages of value to the family. Moreover, access to your email account will likely be necessary for end-of-life bill-paying purposes.

By consulting with our estate planning attorneys in West Monroe, LA, you’ll have the opportunity to detail your desires for each digital asset. 

As an example, you might desire that particular social media accounts be deleted, passed on to a family member, or archived for posterity’s sake. We can also prepare for the distribution of digital assets to specific family members.

Schedule an Appointment With Niswanger Law

Our estate planning team is here to help you plan the distribution of your assets, digital or traditional. Reach out to us today to get the ball rolling on your estate plan or modify a current one.

Contact Niswanger Law by phone at (318) 953-0071. Our office is located at 3820 Cypress Street, West Monroe, LA 71291.