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Does an estate plan include my online life and assets?

Hubbard Snitchler & Parzianello

With the proliferation of a distinct online life now a common place, many are beginning to think about a digital estate plan. But, do estate plans normally include those digital assets?

Estate plans can include digital assets

Estate plans can definitely include digital assets. Unfortunately, many people that have already done an estate plan left out their digital assets. And, even some attorneys forget about their client’s social media and online accounts.

What are one’s digital assets?

When we speak about digital assets, we are, of course, talking about those tradable digital items, like cryptocurrencies, nonfungible tokens, etc. But, digital assets also include ones social media presence and really anything that one can log into, like an email account, banking account and even bill pay websites. It also includes those hardware items that have a login, like laptops, cellphones, smart devices, security systems, etc.

Why do those digital assets matter?

Well, for those digital items that have an exchange rate market value, like cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens, the value is easy to impute. One simply need look to those digital exchanges. An online brokerage or banking account are also easy to value, but what about one’s social media and other digital accounts. Unless one is an influencer or makes their money online, these items may not have intrinsic value, but they need we need to plan on what to do with those accounts after death. For example, if one is married, and only one spouse pays all the bills. What if that spouse passes? Could the other one pay the mortgage? Could they pay the light bill? Or, could they cancel services that only that spouse used? If the answer is no to any of these, then a plan is needed.

Where to begin?

The first thing to do is make an accounting of everything that has as login, including all brokerage and banking accounts, cryptocurrency wallets, emails, social media accounts, etc. Then, notate account numbers (if there is one), usernames and passwords. This is now the digital asset cheat sheet that will be the backbone of a digital estate plan. Do not forget to include those websites that one may not want others to know about because if one wants those sites deleted, someone is going to have to do it.

Get help

The next step is to call a metro Detroit estate planning attorney to update or craft an estate plan that includes one’s digital assets. This person can take that digital asset cheat sheet, and craft a customized digital estate plan.

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