Planning for digital assets in estate planning

| Apr 20, 2016 | Estate Administration & Probate |

As most Michigan residents realize, the Internet has become an important part of many people’s lives. Through the Internet, individuals gain digital assets that they use in their everyday lives. These include social media accounts, email, online bill pays and other online financial services. As a recent blog post has discussed, digital assets can now easily become part of a person’s estate plan in Michigan.

Now that these assets can be included in a person’s estate, it is important for Michigan residents to understand just how they should prepare for the distribution of their digital assets. The first thing individuals need to do is take an inventory of their assets. This does not just include a person’s online accounts. But, it also includes people’s hardware and software that contain digital information.

Next, people need to provide for access for these digital assets. This can include providing passwords, user names, pin numbers and other important information, so that a chosen representative can actually access the digital assets when the time comes.

People also need to remember to provide instructions on how they want their digital assets to be used. This could include whether they want the assets deleted or destroyed, whether they should continue on or if someone should be bequeathed the value of those assets.

Finally, authority must be given in estate planning documents to individuals who can carry out a person’s wishes and desires. Without stating this authority, individuals may not have the right to access these digital assets or follow the given instructions.

There are many estate administration issues that can arise following a person’s death. With proper estate planning, individuals can make these issues easier on their families and loved ones after they pass. People should consult with an attorney to understand how these issues will affect their estate planning.