Understanding Digital Assets: What’s Included and Why It Matters

August 14, 2023

By Noni

Defining Digital Assets: Digital assets encompass a vast array of items with various forms and complexities. They can be broadly categorized as follows

  1. Digital Devices: This includes smartphones, tablets, laptops, personal computers, e-readers, and any other hardware with digital content.
  2. Online Accounts: Social media profiles, email accounts, financial platforms, online shopping accounts, and subscription services are all considered digital assets.
  3. Electronic Files: Digital photos, videos, documents, music files, and any data stored electronically fall under this category.
  4. Cryptocurrencies: Virtual currencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, are a unique form of digital assets, often requiring special considerations.

The Challenges of Managing Digital Assets After Death: When digital assets aren’t explicitly accounted for in an estate plan, it can create significant challenges for surviving family members and heirs. Due to privacy laws and the terms of service agreements of various online platforms, gaining access to accounts and files can be arduous or impossible without proper documentation and authorization.

Addressing Risks Through Digital Estate Planning: Digital estate planning mitigates these risks by:

  1. Appointing a digital executor who understands the intricacies of digital assets and can navigate the legal processes involved.
  2. Creating a comprehensive inventory of digital assets and the corresponding access information.
  3. Providing explicit instructions on how to handle each digital asset, ensuring your wishes are respected.
  4. Seeking legal counsel to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Understanding the scope of digital assets and the challenges they present in estate planning is crucial for protecting your digital legacy. By incorporating digital assets into your estate plan, you can safeguard your memories, finances, and personal information for the benefit of your loved ones.