As digital assets become more prevalent in our lives, it is important to include provisions to facilitate access to accounts and passwords as part of the estate planning process. Digital property, like other pro​perty can be passed to others through an estate plan. While laws pertaining to digital assets continue to evolve, current restrictions to digital assets and passwords by anyone other than the original owner can ultimately pose challenges when the owner passes. Following are some steps to consider to protect your digital assets:

Include digital assets in your estate plan. Consult your attorney to make provisions that authorize your executor to access digital accounts, retrieve digital assets and close digital accounts including:

  • Email and social media accounts
  • Domain names for websites
  • Digital photos and videos
  • Digital rights to literary, musical composition, motion picture, or theatrical works
  • Digital accounts in an online betting account
  • Blog content
  • Online video channels where the content is monetized and producing an advertising revenue stream for its owner
  • Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies
  • Mobile payment services such as Venmo and PayPal
  • Online gaming avatars that offer online goods or services that may be worth real-world money

Compile a digital assets inventory worksheet and share it with trusted individuals such as your spouse and the executor of your estate. Consider using a password management tool to organize and store passwords.

Create a digital vault—Your attorney or financial advisor can help you create a digital vault to store all of your important documents including:

  • Estate planning documents
  • Mortgage documents
  • Financial accounts and documentation
  • Credit card information
  • Birth certificate, drivers license and other personal identification
  • Medical records
  • Insurance documents
  • Photos and documentation of artwork, jewelry and other valuables

This information is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax adviser.

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