Don’t forget your digital assets when developing your estate plan
As you work on your estate plan, much of your focus will be on what will happen to your assets when you die. Who will get the money in your accounts, your home, your antiques and more? Increasingly, many of our assets are digital. Some have monetary value. Many don’t, but are important nonetheless. These may include social media accounts and blogs. You don’t want these falling into the hands of hackers or just anyone. You may want them shut down, or you may want a loved one to continue them in some form or at least let those who follow you on these sites know of your death. If you use online photo and data storage services, you also want to ensure that the right person(s) can access them. You need to provide instructions for what happens to the stored items. Your email accounts should also be accessible to your executor and those whom you’re designating to manage your estate
. Leave a list of these, with log-in information, passwords and security question responses for anyone who will need them. Many of us have multiple online subscriptions to movie, music, gaming and other entertainment services like Netflix, Hulu, PlayStation, Pandora and more. It’s likely that you’ll want those automatically-billed accounts shut down after your death. The same is true of shopping services like Amazon Prime and Instacart. Don’t forget reward and loyalty programs for airlines, hotels and credit cards. Companies have different policies regarding whether you can leave your miles or rewards to others. If you have tens of thousands of miles saved up with your favorite airline, it’s worth finding out whether you can designate that they go to a loved one or perhaps a charity. If you have cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, that’s a more complicated matter because of the highly secretive nature of this type of currency. If you want to leave it to someone, you should list it in your estate plan and provide the necessary access information to your executor and/or heirs. If you don’t have a list of all of these digital assets in a safe place (online or on paper), along with your access information, now is the time to make one. You should let your executor know where this list is and how to access it. Your estate planning attorney can provide guidance and support.