As digital asset classes grow, more and more people are failing or forgetting to plan for their digital assets. Digital assets account for trillions of dollars of assets worldwide and neglecting to plan for your digital assets is a big mistake. For example, just considering Bitcoin alone, current estimates are that approximately $140 billion worth of Bitcoin are lost or otherwise stranded because people did not save and protect their digital keys. Without those keys, both you and those who survive you have no ability to access or use that digital asset.
Properly planning for your digital assets begins with recognizing that you own them. Some examples of digital assets include:
- Photographs, videos, and other digital media
- Social media accounts
- Credit card reward programs
- Digital coins and currencies
- Blogs, articles, websites, and other writing saved and or distributed in digital formats
- Email accounts
- Passwords for digital accounts
Once you have identified your digital assets, you should document what you have and work to provide access to those assets for those who will survive you. At a basic level, this includes making an asset list and ensuring that you have tools in place to make that list available to your beneficiaries. However, simply listing your digital assets does not necessarily give access to those assets to your beneficiaries. It is vital that you have a plan in place to allow for actual access to those assets (for example, providing a way for your beneficiaries to have access to your passwords, digital keys, online or local asset locations, etc.).
Digital asset planning does not have to be overly complex, but it does have to be part of your estate plan to properly account for and distribute your assets to your loved ones. Don’t leave assets inaccessible to yourself and others. Proper planning eliminates problems later on both for you and your loved ones.