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Preparing for the Future: How Estate Planning is Changing in the Digital Age

— March 17, 2023

You can always rely on an estate planning attorney to help you in all matters related to planning for your future. 

We use the internet more and more as the world around us develops and gets more technologically advanced. We carry out business transactions, bank, shop, and store a significant amount of our paperwork, photos, and other stuff online. Nevertheless, what will happen to all of these digital possessions after we pass away?

Purchased video games and movies, user profiles and photos on social media, and cloud-stored data are typical examples of digital assets. Some of these assets are contained in online accounts, and accessing them by loved ones may be made difficult or impossible because of the services’ frequently complex terms of service agreements.

Additionally, simply sharing your log-in details with family members may not be sufficient. Certain laws can put your loved ones at danger of breaking privacy and anti-hacking laws or committing fraud if they attempt to access your accounts.

So, how can one go about safeguarding their digital assets? Your digital assets can be protected using the same guiding principles that apply to your tangible assets. Here are some actions you can take to secure your digital assets and provide your loved ones with access to them, although consulting an estate lawyer can also be very helpful.

The real estate and/or personal belongings that a person owns upon death make up their estate. In order to make the transfer and management of property after death easier, estate planning lawyers write living wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other legal documents.

When estates are not properly handled and a person passes away without leaving a will, their belongings are given to their closest relatives. In the absence of a will or other forms of estate planning, a person loses control of their estate and has no say in how their property is distributed after they pass away.

Be Alert

Get in touch with your lawyer, financial advisor, and CPA frequently and discuss how to secure your digital assets with them. The laws governing the industry are constantly changing due to new technological advancements. Your legal papers, such as a will and a trust, must be drafted in accordance with the law in order for their provisions to be upheld when the time comes.

Create a list of all your digital assets and take an inventory of them. This may be more challenging and perplexing than making a list of your tangible possessions. A wide range of things are considered digital assets, including but not limited to:


Computers, tablets, CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives, USB hard drives, and memory cards are examples of hardware.


This category covers applications that you use to create or manage information, such as accounting software like Quicken, tax software like TurboTax, or blogging tools.

Online presence

This refers to a person’s online presence, which may include their email addresses, social media profiles, blogs, listservs, online movies and photos, storage site accounts, online shopping site accounts, and financial site accounts.

List of Log-In Information to Gather

Create a list of all of your usernames and passwords for online accounts. Keep this list in a secure location at all times. This might be prepared as a file and stored on a secure server online or written on paper and kept in a safe.

Choose the Correct Individual

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It’s not always a good idea to entrust your digital assets to the same person that you did with your physical ones. Examine your resources and choose the person or people you want to handle your digital assets. Your estate planning agreements should include instructions on who the trustees are, what assets they will manage, and how they can access the Log-In Information List.

Provide Directions

Specify the management procedures for your digital assets to your trustees. This need not be comprehensive instructions. If you have a website or blogs, you might want them to live on after you pass away. You could have photos or papers that you would prefer to distribute to friends or family rather than delete. 

You might have private information on your personal computer that you want to remove before the computer is sold or gifted to a loved one, or you might have sensitive work-related material that needs to be returned to your employer or clients.

Include Authority

Ensure that your estate planning documents, such as a will, trust, and durable power of attorney, have the necessary clauses that name and grant access to and authority over your digital assets to your loved ones.

Terms to Know When Preparing an Estate

To comprehend estate planning law, it is important to understand the following fundamental terms:

Intestate: Not having made a legal will before passing away or not disposing of property in accordance with a legal will.

Advance Directive: A written statement of a person’s preferences for medical care in the case of incapacitation (such as a living will or durable power of attorney).

Probate: The formal procedure for distributing a person’s assets after death, particularly when there is no will.

Real property is anything that is permanently affixed to the ground, including crops, buildings, or other resources that are still affixed to or contained within the property.

Inheritance: The act of acquiring real or personal property through intestacy laws or occasionally through a will.

Do You Need a Lawyer for Estate Planning?

Practically everyone may at some point require the services of an estate planning attorney, depending on the complexity of the estate, the person’s health, and other reasons. People may work with a lawyer on behalf of a loved one or family member who is unable to handle their own affairs. 

After having children, some families choose to establish trusts, a legal document that functions like a will but also aids in managing assets before death. A few frequent justifications for hiring an estate planning attorney include the need for:

Trusts: A legal/fiduciary arrangement in which one party acts as the trustee and holds legal title to another party’s property on that party’s behalf; similar to a will, but with instructions on how assets are to be transferred or used during life (for instance, children may inherit certain assets before their parents pass away).

Wills: Legal documents that outline how a person’s assets and affairs will be distributed and handled after death.

Living Wills: Legal documents that outline your end-of-life and medical preferences in the event that you are unable to express them.

A Comprehensive Estate Plan: When working with clients, estate planning lawyers frequently do a more thorough assessment of the client’s estate, inquire about preferences and life goals, and provide advice on options.

You can always rely on an estate planning attorney to help you in all matters related to planning for your future. 

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