Integrating digital assets into an estate plan

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2020 | Estate Planning

People who are creating an estate plan need to think about their digital assets as well as their other property. Like most states, Colorado has enacted a version of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. This permits executors to access many digital assets unless the will specifically prohibits it. This includes web domains, virtual currency and computer files.

However, it does not include email, social media accounts and text messages. A legal document, such as a will, trust or power of attorney, must give permission to access those assets. There are many other types of digital assets as well, ranging from accounts on various websites to digitized medical records, a smart phone and the apps on it and more. “Hybrid assets” are regular accounts, such as IRAs, that can be accessed online as well. The first step in dealing with digital assets as part of an estate plan should be to make a list of all these assets. People should also make a list of all digital liabilities, which are automatic payments.

It is important to include all information about access, such as passwords and security questions. People should then decide who they want to have access to these accounts. Different providers may also have their own policies about setting up access for others.

Working with an attorney can be helpful in creating an estate plan. An attorney may be able to point an individual toward vehicles they may have not realized are useful in their particular situation. For example, people may want to consider who will handle their finances and make health care decisions for them in case they become incapacitated. This could be done with powers of attorney. Giving someone the ability to manage finances might also include giving them access to at least some online accounts.