Bay Area Estate And Tax Planning Law Firm

Own digital assets? Consider putting them in your will

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Digital assets are becoming a significant part of life. They range from tangible assets like cryptocurrency to more personal ones like digital photos. In the context of estate planning in California, these assets can and should be considered in your estate plan. Doing so can help you create a comprehensive estate plan, leaving no asset unaccounted for.

Types of digital assets

Digital assets are varied and expansive. They represent a new form of property that exists in an increasingly digital world. Some digital assets, such as photos and videos, are personal memories stored in an electronic format. They may not hold financial value, but they’re priceless to your loved ones.

Other digital assets, on the other hand, do carry monetary value and can be included in a will. Here are a few examples:

  • Online financial accounts: These include accounts for online-only banks, PayPal or other financial platforms where you might’ve stored funds.
  • Digital collections: This might include eBooks, music files, digital art or any other digital assets that you’ve purchased and have the right to pass on.
  • Cryptocurrency: This includes Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies. These are not just virtual money; they’re assets that can increase in value over time.

Notably, digital currencies aren’t the same as traditional financial assets like bank accounts. They’re similar to personal property, like a car or real estate. So, just as you would specify in your will what should happen to your house or vehicle, you must do the same for these digital assets.

Listing them in your will

Digital assets like cryptocurrency can be worth a lot of money. It’s important to make sure they’re distributed as you wish by including them in your will. But how should you include them in your will? It would be best to start by making a list of all digital assets.

For each asset, you should provide enough information for the executor to identify and access it. This might include usernames, passwords and key locations. Remember, don’t directly include passwords in your will since wills become public records after death. Consider using a secure password manager or a digital estate planning service instead.

The laws surrounding digital assets in estate plans are still evolving. If you own digital assets, consider seeking an attorney. Attorneys can help you plan your digital estate and include them in your will per California laws.