Not that long ago, when it was time to consider your estate plan, you only had to worry about assets you could touch. While some of your assets may have been in various accounts, those holdings still stood for a tangible amount of dollars that you could withdraw if you wanted.
The world changed, and became more digital. What started as email and online access to your bank account became a portal to some of your most important assets found a home in the mysterious cloud.
As you start to think about your estate plan, this is what you need to know about digital assets.
More than family photos
When you think about your digital assets, you may think about the pictures stored on your personal computer. You might also think about your family’s budget spreadsheet, files and other important personal information.
More likely, your digital assets include more than what your PC holds, such as:
- Social media
- Digital books, movies and music
- Bank accounts
- Web domains
In one way or another, these accounts will need a solution when you pass away. Some accounts will simply need to be closed, while others may need more care.
What happens to the content?
For some accounts, ownership is simple. Content that you created belongs to you and you can pass it on to anyone you like; the same is true of financial accounts.
Accounts that came with licensing agreements for content that you purchase may not be as simple to transfer. For most digital media accounts, the content stored in your cloud-based account is not transferrable. Some accounts, however, allow a certain number of downloads of the purchased content. If, on the other hand, you download the content onto a physical hard drive, you can include that content in your will.
As you consider your estate plan, think about your digital accounts and what information you want to be able to pass on. Also consider how important it is to be able to pass on assets like your digital library.