In the 21st century, many of us live large portions of our life online. We play on the Internet, we work with it and we use it for financial matters. Most Sacramento residents have accumulated a few digital assets, some worth practically nothing and others with value. Examples of potentially valuable digital property include:
- Income-generating blogs and websites
- Domain names
- Online banking and other financial accounts
- Revenue-generating creative works
- Payment platform accounts (PayPal, etc.)
- Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, etc.)
If you overlook these assets in your estate plan, they may be lost to your loved ones forever after you die.
Leave behind more than passwords
You might think typing up a list of websites (and their passwords) is sufficient, but it may take more than that to grant your administrator access. More and more web-based financial accounts now require at least one additional layer of security.
Typically, this means owning accounts that require two-factor authentication. When you log in to a web-based account with two-factor authentication, you enter your password as you always have. However, you will also receive instructions (typically a text) asking you to verify it is you before your log-in is complete.
To pass your digital assets to your loved ones, you must make sure someone knows how to access these accounts. For example, consider leaving a comprehensive list of all your digital accounts, including log-in and security details. Store this information in a secure location such as a safety deposit box and update it as necessary. Remember also to address your digital property in your estate planning documents.
These steps ensure that someone (estate administrator, legal advocate, etc.) knows how to gather and inventory these assets. You will rest easier knowing your digital assets are passed among your beneficiaries, per the instructions you left behind.
If you would like to improve your asset preservation efforts, we suggest familiarizing yourself with the estate planning laws in California.