Many people are aware that they must plan for the succession of assets like their home, physical belongings and finances in estate plans. But what about those items that exist only in the digital world? Owned websites, accounts, content and digital items such as cryptocurrency can all be worth a significant amount in the digital age. Navigating the legal standards around the succession of digital assets can be an estate administration challenge for Ontario executors.
It is recommended that those working on their estate plans consider digital assets in the process. This includes any online account that is protected by login security. The most obvious of these might be email and social media accounts. However, significant assets could be housed in online bank accounts like PayPal, invoicing software, websites that bring in revenue and accounts that collect travel points. Additional to these so-called “cloud accounts” are passwords needed to access a person’s computer or phone.
It is recommended that those developing an estate plan create an inventory of these digital assets as well as clear access instructions. Digital liabilities, such as automatic payments from credit or debit cards, should also be considered. Along with login details, account information such as a user name, account number and security question answers will be needed.
Of course, this document can pose a major security risk in the wrong hands. A trusted Ontario lawyer can house these documents until they are needed for the estate administration process. A lawyer can also help to clarify any legally dicey issues related to digital assets, as many people have questions on this topic during the process.