9 Things You Didn’t Realize Were Digital Assets

December 20, 2020

When you think about estate planning, you probably know most of what you want to put in your Will. You might think about your money, home, vehicles, and possessions. You might not even consider your ## digital assets – even though they are increasingly important. Before we continue: what exactly are digital assets?

Your digital assets include:

  • Your smartphone… (Even if it will be outdated in two years!)
  • …And everything in it. How many of us keep all of our photos, notes, and contacts exclusively on our phone?
  • Social media accounts. Speaking of photos, many people have precious memories attached to their social media accounts. Everything of yours that is stored on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are all digital assets.
  • Online bank accounts. Asset distribution can frequently be tied up with access to this too!
  • Email accounts. Along with all those spam newsletters you’ve been meaning to delete!
  • Anything stored in the cloud. Which normally includes family photos, videos, and notes!
  • Your computer and everything on it. Your physical computer and all files on it are considered digital assets in the eye of the law.
  • Medical records. Which are being stored online more than ever before!
  • Subscriptions. If the family accounts on Netflix, Disney Plus, or Hulu are in your name, it doesn’t matter who all else is sharing them. Family movie night is cancelled.
  • And much more!

So much of our lives are stored digitally now. What does that matter to estate planning? Unless you make a Will that includes a plan for your digital assets, what happens to them will be settled in probate court. Probate is a process where the state that someone lived in gets to decide what legally happens to all of their belongings after they die. It can be expensive and time consuming for families. Families can also be denied access to all of these accounts and items until after probate has finished.

In a Will, you can also choose an executor for your digital assets. An executor is the person who you decide will be in charge of handling your digital assets and distributing them wherever you want them to go. If there’s someone you want to sort through your photos and accounts, you can decide who that is and let them know ahead of time. It’s important to treat digital assets with just as much care as physical ones.

Have Questions About Your Digital Assets?

When so much of our lives are stored online, it is essential to protect those memories. Make sure your estate planning includes plans for digital assets. If you’re ready to make a plan, contact Schlegel Livingston! Give us a call at 1-954-771-8929 or contact us online.