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How can I include digital assets in my will?

In today’s digital age, our lives are increasingly intertwined with technology. From cherished family photos stored in the cloud to cryptocurrency investments, digital assets have become integral to our existence. But have you ever wondered what happens to these assets when we pass away?

Understanding digital assets

Digital assets are electronic records in which an individual has a right or interest. They can be personal, like email accounts, social media profiles and digital photos. They may also be financial, such as cryptocurrencies and online bank accounts. Despite being in a digital age, most people have yet to make provisions for them in their will. This oversight can lead to complications, as privacy laws protect many of these assets, making it difficult for loved ones to access them without proper authorization.

Incorporating digital assets into your will

To ensure your executor or loved ones are able to handle your digital assets according to your wishes after you pass away, including them in your will is essential. Here are some steps to guide you:

  • Create an inventory: List all your digital assets, including online accounts, digital files and cryptocurrencies. Include usernames and instructions on how to access them, but avoid listing passwords in your will, as it becomes a public document after your death.
  • Decide who gets what: Determine who should inherit each asset. Be specific to avoid confusion.
  • Appoint a digital executor: This person will be responsible for managing and distributing your digital assets according to your wishes. They should be tech-savvy and trustworthy.
  • Update your will: Work with an attorney to include your digital assets in your will. Some states have specific laws regarding digital assets, that’s why legal advice may be necessary.

In Virginia, digital assets are on equal footing to physical assets in wills and probate. The state implements the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. It allows fiduciaries to manage digital assets, but only if the deceased person has given permission or if the court orders access.

Incorporating digital assets into your will has grown to be an essential part of estate planning in the 21st century. It enables you to preserve your digital legacy and distribute your assets according to your wishes. It’s advisable to consult with a legal professional while drafting a will to ensure all your bases are covered.

 

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