Most people in Ohio and around the world conduct at least a portion of their lives online. Even if you are of an older age, you may have decided to give social media a try or attempt to make banking transactions online. After you got used to how the online world works, you may have felt right at home while visiting your favorite websites.
What you may not have realized, however, is that by using online sites, forums and portals, you created digital assets. While you may not think much about these assets because you cannot hold them in your hands, they still have importance, and you may need to account for them in your estate plan.
Why are digital assets important?
Digital assets can encompass many items from online photo albums to your bank account information. You may not think that anyone would have an interest in posts you made on social media accounts or emails that you sent, but in reality, many of your loved ones may cherish these assets for their sentimental value. They may see posts as a way to connect with you even after you have passed away.
Can my family access my accounts without planning?
In many cases, online accounts are protected on various levels, which may go beyond usernames and passwords and include security questions to which you may not know the answer. Therefore, if you do not tell your family what accounts you have and how to access them, they may end up locked out with no way to even know what digital assets you have. Without this information, your accounts may remain open but inactive, and unscrupulous hackers may attempt to access your information and steal your identity.
Will my family inherit my digital assets?
Because digital assets are not tangible, the matter of their ownership succession poses more challenges that with physical assets. As mentioned, some online accounts may keep your family locked out even after your passing. In other cases, online financial accounts may have options for naming beneficiaries. Overall, the manner in which assets pass on varies, and if you do not bequeath your digital assets, your family could face complications.
Fortunately, your estate plan can effectively address these assets. Even if you have already created a plan, you can update it to reflect your wishes for your digital property. Working with your legal counsel could help you ensure that you address your online life properly.