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What are the basics of digital estate planning?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2022 | Estate Planning

The idea of digital estate planning is fairly new. Indeed, while the internet has been around for the better part of two decades, we have only recently come to understand that our digital lives have value outside the internet.

Social media

Some people may wonder, what possible value could my Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc. have to anyone else. Well, all of those social media accounts contain photographs and videos. However, more importantly, they contain our inner thoughts, opinions and an accounting of our lives. We may think this does not have value, but our friends and families (those who love us) likely think it has a lot of value. For anyone that has lost a grandparent, just think about how much fighting there was over those treasured old photographs. Social media is, essentially, the modern-day equivalent.

Finally, some people want those social media websites to become electronic memorials that can last, possibly, forever. Just think about one’s great-great-great grandchildren learning about our present day by reading our thoughts and experiences that occurred during history. After all, we have all lived during multiple unprecedented events.

Cryptocurrencies and NFTs

Just about everyone has some kind of cryptocurrency or NFT. Many businesses are giving away NFTs, like AMC Theaters. Though, even a modest stake in a cryptocurrency now could be worth millions in the future. Think about how much just a modest $100 purchase of Bitcoin a decade or so ago would be worth today. That could be generational wealth. This is why these digital assets should be included in an estate plan, and if one does not want their heirs to “cash out” immediately, holding periods can be built into a trust.

Do not forget to leave instructions on access

Even if a Greenbelt, Maryland, resident remembers to include their digital assets in their estate plans, what many forget is leaving access instructions. We may remember the URL, username and password. But, what about those digital assets that may require two-step authentication or a third-party authenticator application. This may require access to one’s cellphone that, without it, whoever is supposed to get those digital assets will not be able to access those digital assets.

 

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