What to do about digital assets in your estate plan

| Jul 21, 2021 | Estate Planning

If you live in Texas and you are creating an estate plan, you should also give some thought to your digital assets. You do not need to own cryptocurrency or a valuable domain in order to have digital assets that need to be addressed. Your digital life includes your social media accounts, your digital photos, and your emails as well as any online accounts and other things you own that are digitized. You may also have hybrid assets, such as an account with a brick-and-mortar bank that you can access online.

What to do

The first step should be making a list of all your assets along with any important information about them, such as passwords and account numbers. As is the case with any other type of property, you then need to decide which of your beneficiaries will get your digital assets. Like most other states, Texas has a version of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which allows the people you designate to access your accounts.

Who has power

It is always best to err on the side of being explicit about your intentions and wishes in your estate planning documents, and you should do this with your digital assets as well. For example, you will need to use your will or other documents to give someone permission to access your email, social media and any text messages. Your executor has the power to manage some digital assets, such as virtual currency, but if you would prefer that a spouse or other family member does instead, you can also specify this in your estate plan.

As you are preparing your estate plan, you should think carefully about who you want to be in charge of these various areas just as you think about who you want to be in charge of your finances and health care if you are incapacitated. Communication with your family about your wishes regarding both your digital assets and your regular assets can be important in ensuring that your intentions are clear.

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