Digital assets can be easily overlooked as part of the traditional estate plan but this could be a big mistake to leave them out of your formal planning process. The support of an experienced estate planning attorney can help you to flag digital assets and to incorporate a necessary plan to included them inside your overall planning.
There are three leading reasons why digital assets must be part of the equation. First of all, there is real monetary value associated with digital assets. Although you might not assume that each one of your digital assets has some monetary value, it certainly is true that you likely have financial benefits stored online.
A McAfee study, for example, found that the average person had over $35,000 in digital assets and Americans had more than $55,000 in digital assets. That was back in 2013 so the number has likely grown. The second reason why digital assets need to be incorporated into your estate planning is because plenty of your digital assets might represent lifestyle or sentimental benefits.
While there might not be significant financial value associated with these, your heirs, loved ones and friends probably want access to the assets. Finally, digital assets left alone after death pose a major risk of identity theft or fraud. Over 70% of recently surveyed online users were concerned about their information being leaked or accessed after they passed away. This is a process known as ghosting and can expose the assets inside the deceased person’s estate to unnecessary fraud, spend or another type of draining. To protect against this, it’s important to incorporate your digital assets into your overall plan.