Digital Assets in Estate Planning: What You Should Know

Digital Assets in Estate Planning: What You Should Know

The rapid rise of the digital age has resulted in an exponential increase in our digital footprints. From online banking, email accounts, and social media profiles to digital photos, e-books, and cryptocurrencies, our lives are intertwined with numerous digital assets that hold significant financial or sentimental value. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial to ensure that these assets are incorporated into your estate plan so they are appropriately managed and protected according to your wishes.

Unfortunately, managing digital assets in estate planning is a relatively new and complex concept, often overlooked due to the lack of awareness or understanding. Some challenges associated with digital estate planning include privacy concerns, legal complications, and difficulty in accessing the deceased’s accounts. However, these hurdles can be mitigated with proper planning, professional advice, and foresight.

In this article, we will delve into the importance of including digital assets in your estate plan, the challenges they present, and the best practices to secure your digital legacy effectively. By comprehensively addressing your online assets, you can ensure your wishes are met and your loved ones are better equipped to manage your digital estate when the time comes.

The Importance of Including Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

As our lives become more intertwined with the digital world, it is imperative to address your digital assets when creating an estate plan. Failure to account for these assets could result in complications for your loved ones, financial loss, or even the violation of your privacy wishes. Including digital assets in your estate plan can:

1. Prevent Financial Loss: Ensuring your digital accounts and digital currency holdings are known, protected, and easily accessible can preserve their value and make it easier for the next generation to claim and manage the assets.

2. Maintain Cherished Memories: Digital memories, such as photos, videos, and email messages, can hold immense sentimental value for family and friends. Including these assets in your estate plan can make it easier for loved ones to cherish and preserve those memories.

3. Protect Intellectual Property: For individuals who possess digital intellectual property, copyrights, or trademarks, detailing how these assets should be managed and who should inherit the rights can prevent legal disputes and ensure your creative legacy is properly managed.

Challenges in Safeguarding Digital Assets in Estate Planning

The management of digital assets in estate planning presents unique challenges that require forethought and professional guidance. Some of the main challenges include:

1. Accessing Accounts: Many digital service providers have strict privacy policies, making it difficult for executors or loved ones to access an account without the proper credentials.

2. Legal Complexities: The regulatory environment surrounding digital assets is often complex and highly varied, potentially involving multiple jurisdictions and ever-evolving rules.

3. Security Risks: Sharing and storing sensitive login information for digital accounts can pose security risks, making it crucial to find a secure, encrypted, and easily accessible system that both you and your estate planning professional can trust.

Addressing these challenges requires adopting a comprehensive approach to estate planning that includes specific solutions for digital assets, ensuring your digital legacy is effectively secured.

Creating an Inventory of Your Digital Assets

The first step in safeguarding your digital assets is to create a detailed inventory, outlining every account or asset and essential information such as:

1. Account or asset name and description.

2. Username/login information and passwords.

3. Recovery email or phone numbers.

4. Relevant security questions and answers or two-factor authentication methods.

5. The value of the asset (if there is a monetary value).

6. Any specific instructions or requests regarding the management or distribution of each digital asset.

Be sure to update this inventory regularly as you create new accounts or other circumstances change. Store it securely in the form of a password-protected document or an encrypted storage solution. It is essential to designate a trusted individual or professional to access the document in case of any unforeseen events.

Integrating Your Digital Estate Plan into Your Will

Including the provisions for your digital assets in your will or estate plan is crucial in ensuring your digital legacy is managed according to your wishes. As you work with a professional estate planner, consider the following best practices for addressing digital assets in your will:

1. Assign a digital executor: Designate a tech-savvy individual who understands digital assets, service providers, and associated risks, ensuring they remain responsible for managing the digital side of your estate.

2. Detail Specific Instructions: Outline clear instructions on how each digital asset should be handled – whether it is to be preserved, transferred, closed, archived, or deleted.

3. Reference Your Digital Inventory: Include a reference to the existence and location of your digital inventory in your will so your executor and beneficiaries are made aware of your digital assets.

4. Stay Updated on the Legal Landscape: Regularly consult with your legal advisor about any changes in estate laws or rulings that could impact the treatment of digital assets in your will and estate.


As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial to consider the management and protection of your digital assets when formulating your estate plan. By recognising the importance of digital assets, acknowledging the challenges they present, and creating an inventory that carefully documents your digital accounts, you can ensure your digital legacy remains accessible and protected according to your wishes.

Don’t leave your digital assets to chance; contact Sovereign Planning’s experienced team of professionals to help you create a comprehensive estate plan that addresses both your physical and digital estate matters. Let our professional will writing service take the guesswork out of digital estate planning, enabling you to focus on what truly matters – enjoying life and providing for your loved ones. Contact us today.

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