In the 21st century, most Americans spend significant periods of time using digital technology. We have incorporated it into our work and personal lives. This means that you may have valuable digital assets that need your protection.
You know estate planning allows you to preserve your other assets and have them divided among your loved ones per your wishes. Likewise, you can use estate planning to address your digital property.
How do you know if you have digital property?
Do you have social media accounts? What about an online bank account? These are two examples of digital property nearly everyone has. Other examples include:
- Online intellectual property (audio, text, images, etc.)
- Video and photo storage or sharing accounts
- Digital cloud-based data storage
- Shops in online marketplaces
- Website domain names
- Cryptocurrency keys
If you fail to address such property in your estate planning documents, your family could lose access to it permanently. You must include these items in your will and other estate documents to ensure it benefits your family after you die.
Make sure digital property is accessible
The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (used in Illinois and most other states) describes several ways to access a decedent’s digital property. However, you should still address the access to and distribution of such assets in your estate plan.
Store your plan, including your usernames and passwords, in a secure place such as a home safe or a safety deposit box. Avoid disclosing its location to anyone other than someone you trust implicitly.
With guidance and knowledge of the law, you can protect all your assets, including nontraditional property only accessible on the Internet.