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Estate planning for the digital era

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Estate planning for the digital era

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2019 | Estate Planning, Firm News

Far too many Colorado residents have never made a will or any other part of an estate plan at all. Even those who have thought about the future may find that their plan needs updating for many reasons, from changes in their family structure to changes in the law. One change that could affect people’s plans for the future is a shift to digital assets and online management of those accounts.

From cryptocurrency to digital photo albums, many precious possessions are held in cloud storage and accessible only through an online password. As a result, estate planning is changing, even as best practices may lag behind the ongoing technological developments.

Even though catchall provisions in wills and other documents might cover digital assets, beneficiaries may be unaware of their existence or how they can be accessed. Most online accounts are protected by passwords and some may use even higher levels of security. It may not be clear how or where a beneficiary or the estate administrator can gain access to an online account, especially when cryptocurrency or other highly secure products are involved. Some of the most important digital assets may have little financial worth but may have immeasurable sentimental value.

Around the world, the average person has $35,000 in digital assets. Many people take significant steps to protect their privacy and security online, and those assets may be at particular risk after the owner has passed away. This is especially true when little paper trail is linked to the accounts in question. People who are concerned about how to pass on their digital assets and protect their security can turn to an estate planning attorney for advice and guidance.