Traditional estate planning in Texas has not yet caught up with the intricacies of the digital assets that most people are at least beginning to amass. These assets can include but are not limited to such things as PayPal accounts, bank accounts, intellectual property (such as blogs, e-books, poetry and other works of art), along with domain names and other electronic compilations. The best estate planning strategy to keep up with the growing list of assets that one may want to dispose of properly at death is to first of all prepare a thorough inventory of the items.
The list should give web addresses and passwords necessary to access accounts. The list should be provided to one’s personal representative along with a letter of instructions describing how to handle each asset. If necessary, an asset may have to be included in one’s will and bequeathed properly and legally in that manner.
In that respect, the digital estate is a vital matter to include when talking with one’s estate planning attorney. The plans for these assets will be accordingly handled properly once the estate attorney is advised of the inventory. Therefore, it is always the best procedure to coordinate these matters seamlessly between one’s estate planning attorney and one’s loved ones who will be processing the estate.
Although it is easy for an individual to see that bank accounts and other financial accounts that exist and are mainly recorded online are always key matters that will comprise part of one’s estate, it may be easy to neglect the less obvious things. A domain name, for example, may be worth something and may have a market value in Texas or nationally, even if there is no thought of continuing the web page after death. In addition, a web page that has been nursed along for years may start to bring in a significant income. Such matters should be coordinated with partners and other owners, and one’s intentions should be updated at all times with one’s estate planning attorney.
Source: seekingalpha.com, “Estate Planning: Don’t Forget Your Digital Assets!“, Evan Powers, April 10, 2016