The 21st century has opened a new can of worms regarding estate plans. Now on the estate planning menu for many Massachusetts residents are digital assets. Many things have been digitized and not everything everyone owns is in a hard copy format. Anything online that a person owns is considered to be a digital asset.
These assets could include blogs, vlogs, social media pages and websites. Also, much of a person’s finances are now managed online. Banking can be done online as well as things like overseeing investment portfolios. And then there are also personal assets stored online, such as photographs and videos. People need to be just as mindful of these assets when estate planning as they are of other assets.
There are basically four areas of digital accounts with which people need to be concerned: finances, online rewards programs, electronic communications and digital collections. Financial accounts could include things like PayPal or Zelle, while online rewards programs could include Air Miles or other shopping points programs. Electronic communications include email accounts and social media pages on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Collections could include photos, videos or anything that carries sentimental value.
A Massachusetts attorney may be able to help a client to distinguish what his or her digital assets are and how to handle them in estate planning documents. Dying and leaving these issues at loose ends may cause added grief for loved ones left to sort through them. Looking after online assets is an important aspect of a comprehensive estate plan.