What exactly is a digital asset?

A digital asset is anything that is in a binary format and requires permission to access it. Below are some examples: 

  • Online accounts: This includes email accounts, financial accounts, social media pages, etc.
    • ie: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Electronic devices: This includes smartphones, laptops, iPads or tablets and related data stored on such devices 
    • ie: photos, text messages, emails, etc.

In the event of a death, these are valuable assets that you will want your beneficiaries to be able access. 

Does your estate plan permit someone to access and manage these assets in the event of your disability or after you’re gone?  

Many states have adopted a version of the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. This law allows a decedent’s personal representative, trustee, or agent to access and manage your digital assets and electronic communications. However, in order for your agent, executor or trustee to have access to these assets, you must specifically direct this action granting said person permitted access.

Access may be granted in one of two forms. You may specifically direct the custodian of the account information to disclose such information to a designated recipient.  Some custodians have adopted written policies regarding the disclosure of digital asset information to third parties to which you, as a User, can agree. If you have not used an online tool to give direction for disclosure of digital assets, you must have authorized and consented specifically in a will, trust or power of attorney.   

Therefore, if you want to ensure someone can access and manage your digital assets in the event you are unable to do so, please complete the following:

  1. Prepare an inventory of your digital accounts and assets. Do not forget automatic payment plans, renewal plans and monetary arrangements under which your bank account is charged on a routine basis.
  2. Allow or prohibit access to your digital accounts and assets through your power of attorney. Please note that you can designate different people for different accounts.
  3. Authorize or prohibit your executor and/or trustee disclosure of some or all of your digital assets. For example, you may want to authorize your trustee access to financial digital assets, but someone else to manage your emails, social media and more personal digital assets.
  4. Be explicitly clear as to the types of assets to which access is authorized or prohibited.

 

In today’s world, we cannot predict what the future holds. It has become more important now than ever to reinforce your assets and wealth against unexpected future liabilities and loss. To learn more about digital asset protection, call Donald L. Sadowski, PC today.