We saw technology take new dimensions during the pandemic. More people adopted technology, and remote work became more popular. We resorted to schooling online, hanging out with friends virtually, and exploring other communication aspects of the internet. The seniors are not left out – they became intentional on using the internet to pay their bills and connect with their loved ones.
We can go on and on about how helpful online technology has been in recent times. However, these advancements are not entirely perfect, especially regarding estate planning. For example, here is a question most people are struggling to answer: how do I protect my digital assets?
Just before we get to the answer to that question, let’s try to understand what digital assets are.
Digital Assets Explained
Digital assets are online valuables. We are talking about your online clips and photos, web domains, travel rewards, and crypto assets, among others. Digital assets may have financial value, and some may be taxable on death. Others only have personal and sentimental values to the owners.
In the case of physical assets, we always know what we have and how we want them distributed when we are gone. Almost everyone has an inventory for their physical assets – as expected. And in a few situations where there are no inventories, the estate executor will find them by checking the necessary files and documents.
But you know what, we can’t say the same for digital assets. It is more difficult to locate digital assets on the demise of the owner. These resources are often protected with strong passwords and Terms of Service Agreements that make them inaccessible to anyone except you. So, while your executor may locate these assets, accessing them is not always easy.
Protecting Your Digital Assets
Despite these dynamics, how do we protect our digital assets? Let’s start with these two to-dos:
Ensure your executor or trustee knows what digital asses you have and how they can locate them.
Grant them access to these digital assets.
The next step is planning your will. You must plan your will such that it includes your digital assets. But that’s not all; you should discuss extensively with your executor how you want them distributed after your death.
For instance, who gets your social media accounts? Do you want to keep them running? If yes, who should be in charge? You may want to trust the law to address all of these. But the current estate administration legislation is still largely new regarding digital assets. That is why Ottawa certified financial planners advise that you take charge.
Address the situation head-on by creating a comprehensive asset inventory list for your digital and physical assets. Ensure your executor knows about this list and give them all the information they need to facilitate a seamless execution after your demise.