The digital revolution promises to radically change the way you plan for the orderly distribution of your assets upon your death. Do you have a PayPal account with a significant balance? You certainly don’t want to leave it open and accessible upon your death, as it’s relatively easy to pull money from such an account. Maybe you have a sizeable iTunes balance—how does that get transferred? And we haven’t even considered whether you have any Bitcoin assets.
Furthermore, there can be significant problems with access to digital assets. If you haven’t provided your administrator with usernames and passwords, your heirs may have to take legal measures to obtain access to your accounts, costing them time and money.
So what do you need to do to protect your loved ones if a meaningful portion of your estate is accessible through the cloud or may be hacked online? Though the disposition of digital assets in a will or trust is in its infancy, it’s a good idea to meet with your estate planning attorney and amend your estate planning documents to give the trustee or executor the power to protect those assets. Typical language allows a trustee or personal representative to modify, transfer or liquidate all digital assets. It can also identify where digital assets are stored, and provide usernames and passwords, so that an executor or trustee can obtain access to the digital assets and distribute them according to the will or trust. In addition to providing a way to access your digital assets, you can also lay out a specific plan for the distribution of digital dollars or other intangible assets.
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