Digital assets are a necessary but often overlooked part of an estate plan or business succession plan by many professional advisors. Digital assets are not computers, devices, tablets, or external drives. Digital assets are all the data, documents, communications, and information stored on computers and devices or in accounts maintained and accessed online. Some digital assets can hold a monetary value, such as sponsored blogs, cryptocurrencies, or website domains, while others have priceless, sentimental value. Pictures, videos, and emails from a loved one could be forever lost if the platform storing these items is not disclosed or if authorizations to access these assets are not included in estate planning documents. However, not all digital assets are capable of being transferred, as many are subject to Terms of Service Agreements that only give the user a lifetime license in the asset. Navigating this increasingly complex area requires helping clients understand what digital assets they have, and then analyzing if and how they can be accessed and transferred. Properly planning for digital assets streamlines the transfer and disposal of digital assets that are capable of being transferred, reduces unnecessary delays, and helps safeguard against identity theft and cybercrimes.
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