From electronically stored videos and photos to email and social media accounts, life is becoming more and more digital. These days, it’s the norm to store most things digitally and conduct financial transactions electronically. The majority of people in Michigan own digital assets in one form or another. Common digital assets include cryptocurrencies, digital photos and videos, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), domain names and online content.
However, if an estate plan doesn’t properly account for digital assets, heirs may not be able to access them. Priceless family photos and videos could be lost forever, and finances in digital accounts may not be passed down as intended. Here are a few keys to estate planning in the digital age.
Create a list
A great way to start is by taking inventory of digital assets so loved ones will know what is owned and where they can locate it. List important passwords, online accounts and digital property, including virtual currency and domain names. Make sure to store this list in a secure location and let family members know how to access it.
Update legal documents
Make sure to update wills, powers of attorney and any living trusts with verbiage that provides consent. Work with an estate planning attorney to revise legal documents to include language giving consent for providers to disclose the contents of electronic communications to the appropriate people. Consider what information should be made available.
In many ways, technology has provided convenience and made life easier in general. However, technology also ensures that change happens quickly. Likewise, the laws surrounding digital assets are changing rapidly. Those Michigan who want to include digital assets in the estate planning process should consider speaking with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney about what steps to take to secure digital property.