Are you aware of exactly what digital assets are? Digital assets refer to any form of content or information that exists in a digital format and holds value to individuals or businesses. These assets encompass a wide range of items, including online accounts, social media profiles, cryptocurrencies, digital photos and videos, intellectual property, and more. Do you have digital assets? Are they included in your Wisconsin estate plan? In fact, in this digital age, Wisconsin estate planning has become more complex due to the increasing presence of digital assets that need to be planned for.
You need to be aware that the value of digital assets can be both financial and sentimental. As you work with your experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney you can include provisions for the management, distribution, or preservation of these assets in your Wisconsin estate plan to ensure that your digital legacy is properly created. Because of their unique nature, digital assets may require more strategic planning which your experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney may assist you with.
As digital assets continue to become both more complex and more prevalent, we want to provide some modern estate planning tips for managing digital assets that we give many of our clients.
Have a detailed inventory. You need to create an inventory of all your digital assets. This includes listing the platforms, accounts, and any associated login credentials. Keep this inventory updated and stored securely.
Be sure to review the terms of service for each asset. Be aware that this is a constantly evolving area and can be subject to change at any time, typically at the sole discretion of the company that created the digital asset. Familiarize yourself with the terms of service and user agreements of the platforms where your digital assets reside. Some platforms have specific provisions regarding the transfer or management of accounts upon the user’s death or incapacity although this is not the norm.
Give authority to your agent, your personal representative, and your trustee. Be sure each of these three individuals, or one individual depending on the nature of your Wisconsin estate plan, has the specific written authority to manage and dispose of your digital assets.
You need to create a central password manager for digital assets that are in your Wisconsin estate plan. You could use password manager applications to securely store and manage your login credentials. Under the guidance of your Wisconsin estate planning attorney you may want to go a step further and provide your future decision maker with the necessary access credentials to this central password manager account. While this will include usernames and passwords, it may also include two-factor authentication methods.
Be sure to specify digital asset distribution. We recommend that you work with your experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney to clearly outline your wishes for the distribution or disposal of specific digital assets in your estate plan. This may include transferring ownership, deleting accounts, or preserving certain assets for sentimental or historical purposes.
We highly recommend that you regularly review, update, and manage these accounts. Digital assets and online platforms evolve rapidly as opposed to the ownership and access to more traditional assets such as real property. Regularly review and update your Wisconsin estate plan to reflect any changes in your digital asset inventory, platforms, or preferences.
By incorporating these evolving Wisconsin estate planning tips, you can better manage and protect your digital assets, ensuring that your digital legacy is handled according to your wishes. Remember, working with your experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney in this area is critical to remain up-to-date with changing laws and technologies that could impact your goals for your digital assets.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We want to help you protect your aging relatives. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum today.