In today’s digital age, nearly everyone has a digital asset of some sort. The increased use of digital tools during the past several decades has led to the creation of assets that are deemed worth preserving and including in wills. This is true even though digital assets are temporary and can be challenging to value in the state of New York and elsewhere.
Some familiar digital assets include content that has been uploaded or downloaded, such as videos and photos. Other types of digital assets are more complicated, such as bitcoin and other digital currencies, as well as the ownership of domains. A major hurdle when it comes to protecting and collecting digital assets in an estate plan involves being able to access them.
There are four obstacles to getting access to a digital asset, which are not experienced when handling traditional assets. These obstacles include data privacy laws, legal authorization laws, passwords and data encryption. All of these hurdles can make it difficult for fiduciaries or family members to retrieve an asset, even if these parties should be able to access it.
To make it easy for others to access digital assets when needed in the state of New York, it can be helpful to come up with a list of digital account passwords. Such a list needs to be kept in a secure location. An attorney can help with the process of putting together wills that accurately reflect what should happen to certain digital assets if the owners of the assets were to die.
Source: thinkadvisor.com, “The New Era of Estate Planning“, Nancy Hermann, Feb. 27, 2017