In light of society’s ongoing reliance on technology, digitization of property, and additional advances in internet technology, the value of digital assets is evolving exponentially. As such, individuals must incorporate digital estate planning into their traditional estate planning process. An experienced Texas attorney can assist clients in ensuring that their estate plan is effective and comprehensive.
Digital assets, in the context of estate planning, refers to any asset that exists only as a numeric encoding expressed in the binary form. These assets can exist in personal and business settings. For example, personal digital assets may include music, photographs, videos, and emails. In business, digital assets may consist of payroll systems, software, and customer service information.
Additionally, Metadata may contain information about the creation and owner of digital assets. However, it is essential to note that certain items such as computers, cameras, and cell phones do not qualify as digital assets.
Importance of Transferring Digital Assets
Historically, transferring property, assets, and cherished heirlooms has been the main focus of estate planning. However, taking into account the importance of digital assets in people’s everyday lives, transferring digital assets should be a critical aspect of any estate plan. Many unknowingly leave substantial amounts of digital assets unaccounted for after their passing. Failing to account for digital assets can result in losing items, such as photos and emails with sentimental and financial value.
Unique Issues with Digital Assets
Those who want to plan for the disposition of their digital assets properly should consult with an experienced attorney to discuss the best way to accomplish their goals. Although traditional estate planning can present challenges, digital assets have their own set of unique issues. Some of the primary issues with transferring digital assets are:
- Identifying and Accessing: Those who want to include digital assets in their estate plan must identify where the asset is located and how to access it. Owners should include their digital assets’ user names, account numbers, and passwords.
- Ownership: Ownership of digital assets may not always be clear. Some third-party servers do not permit access to digital assets. Thus, owners should be clear about addressing these hurdles in their digital estate plans.
- Security: Digital assets are often prone to specific threats and cybercrime. Appropriate digital estate planning must consider all security concerns.
A Texas digital estate planning attorney can work with clients to consider these issues and create a legally sound digital estate plan.
Contact a Texas Digital Estate Planning Attorney to Schedule a Free Consultation
Addressing digital estates is crucial to a comprehensive estate plan. The attorneys at McCulloch & Miller PLLC have the skills, resources, and experience to address this aspect of estate planning. In addition to handling Houston digital estate planning, our firm handles all traditional elements of estate planning such as advance directives, charitable planning, estate and gift tax planning, power of attorney documents, and last will and testaments. Contact our office at 713-903-7879 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.