A thorough estate plan should account for the protection, and eventual disposition, of all your estate assets, including your digital assets. You may have a full understanding of what is meant by “digital assets” or not even realize you have digital assets. Even if you are among the age group that is often unaware they own digital assets, chances are very good that you do. Regardless, it is very important to make sure that you include your digital assets in your estate plan.
In today’s electronic age almost everything you do involves a computer. Telephone calls are now made primarily over cellular telephones. Correspondence is increasingly accomplished through email. Bank accounts are accessed and reviewed over the computer. Bills are paid and shopping done over the internet. One thing all of these things have in common is that they require log in and password information to gain access. Have you ever stopped to consider what would happen to all those accounts if something happened to you? Who would be able to access your email, bank accounts, or Facebook account? Who would you want to have access?
Like many people, most of your financial records may now be stored electronically as well. Everything from your day to day checking, to your retirement plan, and stock portfolio are likely accessed electronically. You may not even receive paper statements on a monthly basis anymore. If you were to die tomorrow, how would your Executor access those statements and records?
You may even have income producing digital assets as well. Do you have your own website for a small business? Do you regularly sell on eBay? Do you have a monetized blog? If so, all of these are income producing digital assets that not only require a password to access but can actually be gifted to a beneficiary if you choose to do so in your estate plan.
As you can see, digital assets are numerous. Some may only need to be included in your estate plan for the convenience of your Executor, but others are actually valuable assets that can be gifted to loved ones. If you have not taken the time to go over your digital assets with your estate planning attorney, now is the time to decide how to incorporate them into your estate plan.
If you have additional questions or concerns about digital assets, or your Illinois estate plan in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.
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