If you haven't already done so, creating a will or trust is a great way to develop a long-term financial plan. An estate plan can go well beyond houses, cars, and other physical assets. In fact, many assets in today's world have become digital.
If you're wondering whether or not digital assets can and should be included in your estate plan, the answer is yes. As long as your digital assets hold some value, they can be passed on to a beneficiary when you pass away or if you become incapacitated.
If your digital assets are not included in your estate plan, they may not be passed on to beneficiaries. Some may not be discovered at all. In order to pass a digital asset on through a last will and testament, it's critical that it has tangible monetary value. Email accounts, social media accounts and similar digital assets don't qualify if they don't hold any monetary value or generate income.
If you have any questions regarding your estate plan, be sure to speak to an experienced Indianapolis estate planning attorney.
What digital assets should I consider?
Digital assets are any monetary assets or property that exists on the internet, yet have significant value. Some examples of digital assets are:
- Websites or blogs you own (especially those that generate income)
- Online investment and bank accounts such as E-Trade or PayPal
- Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin
- Income generating affiliate programs
- Credit card rewards
- Digital copyrights or trademarks
- Frequent flyer miles
- Digital music or media accounts such as iTunes or Amazon
Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many other income-generating online assets or investments you can consider including in your estate plan.
How are digital assets protected?
When it comes to digital assets, there is always the risk of cybercrime. There are some state and federal laws that protect digital assets, including:
- Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) – Digital accounts are protected from unauthorized access.
- Stored Communications Act (SCA) – Digital communications such as email and text messages are protected from unauthorized access.
- Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) – Fiduciaries are granted access to the digital access of clients when a client becomes deceased or incapacitated. This law exists in 48 states.
How can an attorney help me establish an estate plan?
Establishing an estate plan is never an easy endeavor. This complex process can create a lot of uncertainty and confusion, especially if you aren't sure which assets qualify. That's why it's critical that you speak to an experienced Indianapolis estate planning attorney who can help you through this process.
The attorneys at Hocker & Associates LLC have more than 25 years of experience helping Indiana residents meet their estate planning needs. If you're not sure how to get started or where to turn, contact us online to find out how we can help you. Our legal consultations are confidential and free of charge.