When you sit down to put together your estate plan, you will likely spend a great deal of time deciding what should happen to your home, vehicles, stocks, and savings. However, the planning process should not end there. You must also take a moment to figure out how you would like your digital assets dealt with after your death.
What Are Your Digital Assets?
A digital asset is a file or account that exists in an electronic format. Most Americans have dozens of digital assets, including:
- Email accounts
- Social media accounts
- Audio, image, and video files
- Utility company accounts
- Cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin and Ethereum)
- Blogs, websites, and domain names
- Amazon, eBay, and Etsy seller accounts
These assets might not be tangible, but they can have immense financial and sentimental value. They can also help the executor settle your estate after your passing.
Dealing with Digital Assets in an Estate Plan
As any California estate planning attorney will attest, the law does not do a great job of keeping up with technology. As such, it can sometimes be a little complicated to transfer your digital assets after your death.
For assets you own, such as cryptocurrency or funds in a PayPal account, the process of transferring to another individual is simple. All you need to do is include it in your will with a named beneficiary, just as you would for a house or car.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of your digital assets are not actually your property. You are licensing them from a private company. As such, US law does not permit you to transfer them in a traditional will, even if they have value to you or your loved ones.
As a result of this issue, it is generally wise to consult with an experienced San Diego family lawyer to figure out how to handle these digital assets. A skilled attorney will be able to analyze the terms of your digital licenses to see if there is an alternate means of transferring your account after death. If there is, they can help you work through this process.
Unfortunately, not all licensors will allow you to transfer an account in this way. In this case, your attorney can help you put together a letter for your executor that contains a list of your digital assets and instructions on how to access them.
Providing the executor with this information will not grant them ownership of the account. However, it will allow them to temporarily access it for the purposes of retrieving sentimental items and settling your estate.
Your Knowledgeable California Estate Planning Attorney
Do you need a skilled San Diego family lawyer to help you put together a plan for your digital assets? If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Semanchik Law Group. We will be happy to provide you with all the advice and assistance you require. To get started, all you need to do is fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (619) 535-1811.