Estate plans can include digital assets

Over the past two decades, people's digital lives have evolved to include everything from financial documents to movie collections and photo albums. Like any assets, these assets also have value and are now being included in more people's estate plans. Although digital assets can sometimes be complicated to determine ownership, especially if they are stored on a server not owned by the person, it is still important to have conversations about these assets.

The first step in forming a digital estate plan is making a list of a person's digital assets. This might include photos, videos, bank statements, and other accounts. After a list is put together, people need to choose someone who can handle the distribution of these assets. Including this information in an estate plan is something an estate planning attorney can help with.

An experienced attorney can ask a person questions to make sure they are including everything they want in their estate plan and make sure no details are overlooked. Many people overlook their digital assets when thinking about their estate plans, but according to one survey, on average Americans estimate the worth of their digital assets at $55,000. If a person owned that much in physical assets, they would likely make sure they properly planned who would receive those assets.

Planning who will get digital assets can be done right along with other estate planning. Speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney can help ensure this is done properly and no parts of the estate plan conflict.

Source: The Associated Press, "How to protect your digital life with estate plans," March 2, 2013

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