Digital Asset Series Part III: Additional Types of Digital Assets

In Part II of this series, I discussed some of the most common types of digital assets. Today we are going to cover financial accounts, business accounts, domain names or blogs and an assortment of other digital assets. Like the previously discussed assets, some institutions have policies in place for accessing the assets of a deceased individual, however, most do not. Let’s look at these digital assets in a little more detail.

Financial accounts are those offered at almost every financial institution that give you the option of online banking.  This may be limited to monitoring your account activity online or as broad as managing transactions and depositing checks with your smart phone.  Additional financial accounts that are housed online can be Amazon, investment accounts where no brick and mortar presence exists and online bill pay accounts. These financial accounts contain your personal information and have at least a convenience value to the owner. Due to the sensitive nature of this information, most of these accounts will require case-sensitive usernames and passwords for access. If you are the only person with the required information to access these accounts, how will your heirs know where to find all your assets and how to collect them?  Additionally, how will an agent acting with a power of attorney gain access to manage your affairs during a crisis?

It is nearly impossible to run a business these days without the use of a computer. Business accounts include all the business data stored on the computer, for instance, financial information for the business, customer information, inventory, etc. Business accounts will also include software that you have purchased or have a users license for that allows you to manage one or more aspects of your business, such as, word processing, accounting, practice management, CRM to name a few.  A separate but closely related category is domain names and blogs. Most businesses will have a website to advertise their products or services. These sites have domain names that are bought and sold and in some cases are quite valuable independent of the business using them. When these assets are username and password protected, it may be difficult for them to be accessed after your death and valuable assets could be lost.  Furthermore, this information will be critical if the business is to continue running during a period of incapacity or following the passing of the owner if the business is to be sold.

In addition to all the various digital assets we have already discussed, there are countless other assets that exist in digital form. Examples of these assets include your frequent flyer miles, cash back programs, iTunes account, online game accounts, etc. All of these assets have a value to you, and some can even be sold on specialized markets. If your heirs are unable to access these after your death, it can mean your hard work, time and money spent on these assets will be lost.

If you have not incorporated your digital assets into your estate plan, or if you have yet to create an estate plan, contact a qualified estate planning attorney to help you create a comprehensive estate plan that benefits your family and your life. Check back next time for an overview on estate planning for your digital assets!

The following two tabs change content below.

Law Offices of Debbie J. Cunningham

Debbie Cunningham is an Irving attorney providing affordable estate planning to the Dallas/ Fort-Worth areas. She understands the steps you should take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Debbie is family-focused and wants to ensure her clients are fully informed on the options that are available for their families. Debbie’s own blended family has given her valuable insights into the complexities of family dynamics.

Latest posts by Law Offices of Debbie J. Cunningham (see all)