Digital assets have become a part of daily life. Most people don’t think of their Facebook accounts and similar entities as having value, but do you realize that if you own digital assets in Maryland, you need to include them as part of your estate?
What are digital assets?
- Domain names and websites
- Digital photos
- Data stored in the cloud or on your personal computer
- Your information that is stored anywhere on the internet
The above are the most common digital assets. However, they can also include:
- Financial records stored in smartphones and computers along with electronic financial transactions
- Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
- Digital rights to written, theatrical, visual and musical works
- Online video channels producing advertising revenue
- Online gaming avatars that may have real-life value
Why you need to protect digital assets
Just as the world has changed dramatically over the last several decades, so has estate planning and administration. You need to consider aspects that weren’t considered by U.S. law even 10 years ago. Not considering your digital footprint can make life difficult for your survivors as they may not be able to readily access your information. Your estate may have to go through probate.
If you haven’t considered your digital assets, now is the time to do so. Start by making a list of what you think your legal assets may be. Including them in your will or a living trust can make life easier for your survivors after your passing.