When one begins the estate planning process, there are a lot of considerations. If one has minor children, who should be their guardians if both parents die before the kids become adults? How does one maximize a wealth transfer, while minimizing taxes? What about long-term care planning? There are a lot of questions. But, a less frequent question is, what about my social media?
While digital assets may be intangible, they should be included in an estate plan because they can have just as much value as any other, traditional (tangible) asset. Indeed, it may even seem weird leaving a Facebook page to a loved one, but when we think about this type of digital asset as a memento or memorial, it starts to make a lot more sense.
Just like when one makes an inventory of one’s traditional assets to use to help estate plan, one should make an inventory of all their digital assets. Digital assets include anything that requires a username and password that is accessible online. This inventory should include all of those accounts, the username, password and how to access them. This last step is especially important because many accounts, like crypto-wallets now require some kind of third-party authenticator application. This information should be included.
What to include?
A plan should be made for all the digital asset, even if the plan is just to let it become a zombie account. Remember, just about all of one’s digital assets have some value. If one has a streaming account, digital downloads of movies and music, photographs, cryptocurrencies, etc. These are all assets that should be included.
What should happen to them?
For our Plano, Texas, readers, and those throughout Collin County, this is where the rubber hits the road. There may be some websites we would rather have any connection to us deleted. Who would one trust to do those deletions, quietly and confidentially? Often, a lawyer, with their duty of confidentiality is a good choice for these items. For sentimental digital assets, think about transferring them to a power of attorney to distribute. For cryptocurrencies, since they are, essentially, money, they should be distributed as such. Even one’s music, video, book, etc. collections should go to someone, just as if those digital assets were hard assets.