Few people realize the importance of including digital assets in their Last Will and Testament. What are digital assets, and who gets control of them after you pass away?
What Are Digital Assets?
“Digital asset” is an umbrella term used to describe any electronic asset, record, or account you might currently hold. Email addresses, online bank accounts, social media accounts, work profiles, etc. all fall under the digital asset category.
It isn’t fun to think about, but when you pass away, your electronic records continue to exist. To protect your accounts from being hacked, or simply to keep them from sitting around pointlessly, you should develop a plan. Authority over your digital assets can be granted through your will, but it is a forgotten detail by many individuals.
If you don’t have a family member or friend you can trust with your online accounts and records, you can also grant authority to a lawyer. You may desire to have every account shut down. The important thing is to clearly state your wishes before someone has to guess what they are.
A Digital Assets Checklist
So, exactly what is categorized as a digital asset? We have provided a digital assets checklist for your benefit. When preparing your end-of-life documents, gather usernames, passwords, and other pertinent information for each of the following.
- Email Accounts
- Social Media Accounts
- Monthly or Yearly Subscriptions (such as Apple Music)
- Website Memberships (such as Amazon)
- Phone Applications
- Tablet Applications
- Streaming Services (music or video)
- Online Documents
- Online Photo Albums
- Credit Cards
- Debit Cards
- Bank Accounts
- Financial Applications (such as Venmo)
- Online Gaming Accounts
- Dating Accounts
- Medical Profiles
- Personal Blog
- Insurance Profiles
- Phone Contacts
- Special Computer Software
- Accounts for Paying Utilities
- Loyalty Programs
Where Should You Store Your List of Assets?
Naturally, over the course of your life, you will accumulate many digital assets. Some may not be as important as others, and ultimately, it won’t be a huge deal if your favorite department store continues sending spam to your junk email after you pass away.
However, your list of digital assets doesn’t stop after your rewards memberships and social media accounts. Many of your digital assets contain sensitive family or financial information that shouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. The trick is keeping track of your more important assets and assigning authority over them to someone you trust. Make sure you protect your privacy even after death by storing your digital asset information in a safe deposit box.
It is also important that your loved ones are able to locate your digital asset information after you pass away. Register the location of your list of assets, will, and other final documents so that your family can find them later.