Before the advent of the Internet, estate planning was all about hard copies and physical property. These days, we have a whole new facet to take into consideration because we conduct business through the Internet, and we own digital property.
With this in mind, we will explain the steps you can take to put a digital estate plan in place.
Conduct an Inventory of Digital Assets and Access Information
The first order of business will be to identify the digital property that you own. Computer hardware would be part of this equation, along with software and domain names.
Your website and blogs should be listed with access information for the hosts and the back end of the sites. Social media accounts would be part of the inventory as well.
Speaking of logins, you should list all the financial accounts that you manage online and record the appropriate usernames and passwords.
A lot of people own cryptocurrency these days, that certain laws that may apply to these transfers are still being interpreted on a state-by-state basis. You should discuss this in detail with your estate planning attorney if you are in possession of bitcoin or some other form of cryptocurrency.
Choose a Digital Executor
When you know what you have to pass along or liquidate, you have to identify a digital executor to use the information you share and put it into action when the time comes. This can be the person that will be your executor or trustee, but this is not a requirement.
You would want to empower the digital executor in a legally binding manner when you are creating your estate plan. This being stated, you do not want to record the details in a last will, because the contents of a will are available to the general public.
Who Gets What?
After you have completed the first two steps, you have to ask yourself how you want the digital property be transferred. With regard to blogs, websites that are not income producing, and social media accounts, you should simply let your estate administrator know how you want them to be handled. This would also extend to your email addresses.
Engage an Attorney To Guide You Through the Process
Once you have the framework in place, you have to attend to the finer details with regard to the execution of the general plan. This is where professional guidance can be absolutely invaluable, because the legal implications should be taken into consideration.
Download Our Estate Planning Worksheet
You reached this site because you want to learn more about estate planning, and you are in the right place. There are hundreds of blog posts that you can explore, and we add new content on an ongoing basis.
In addition to the blog, there are other written resources that are available. One of them is our carefully prepared estate planning worksheet. It is being offered free of charge, and you can visit our worksheet access page to get your copy.
Put an Estate Plan In Place
Given the circumstances that have been created by the coronavirus, estate planning is more important than ever. If you are going through life without an estate plan, now is the time for action. This is also true if you have an estate plan that has not been updated in many years.
We are offering consultations over the phone and through video chat, so there is no reason to take pause because of exposure concerns.
You can set the wheels in motion right now if you send us a message, and you can reach our Essex Junction, Vermont office at 802-879-7133. The number for the Albany, New York location is 518-389-6020.