Should things you buy online be included in your estate plan?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2020 | Estate Planning

When making an estate plan, most people automatically think about tangible assets like homes, jewelry, artwork and family heirlooms. When it comes to non-tangible assets, plans surrounding the distribution of these assets to loved ones generally assumes some traditional method of accessing them, such as working with an insurance agent regarding a life insurance plan.

However, today’s digital world encompasses many things that fall outside these areas, putting a whole new spin on estate planning.

Digital-only assets

As explained by Fidelity Investments, most people have some form of digital assets even if they don’t always think about them in those terms. An email address and a social media account are just two examples of how a person’s life takes on a new form in a digital space. Many pictures or videos may only exist in cyberspace.

Without the right attention, these assets and the information associated with them may be completely inaccessible by a person’s heirs after they die. Valued family photos and videos risk getting lost forever.

Hybrid assets

According to Forbes, people should pay special attention to assets that may have multiple means of being accessed. A bank account, for example, could be accessed via an in-branch visit, a phone call or an online system or app.

Digital login credentials should be carefully safeguarded so family members know which accounts exist and how to access them. Some tools allow for the safekeeping of a person’s username and passwords.

Online safe deposit boxes

From birth certificates to wills and more, many critical documents today are digitized. An online safe deposit box allows people to securely house these documents for access when needed.