Financial Planning Tip of the Week

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by: Jennifer R. Figurelli, CTFA

Are your “Digital Assets” Protected?

To most people, the word “assets” includes cash, stocks, bonds, real estate and other forms of investments.     However, there is another category of assets which is often overlooked- digital assets.

A digital asset is anything that is stored in a digital file.  It also includes digitally stored content in an online account, for example, email accounts, smartphones, tablets, computers, social media accounts, web pages, blogs and domain names.  Important information about bank and brokerage accounts, expenses, insurance and debts are stored digitally on the client’s computer, smartphone or email account.  If the client’s digital files can’t be accessed promptly, bills may go unpaid and certain assets may be overlooked.    Artwork, web pages, graphics, videos, writings and photographs are some examples of digital assets that can have significant monetary value.   Email and social media accounts often have significant sentimental value that may be very important to the family and friends of a decedent.

With proper planning, you can protect your digital assets in the event of your disability or death.

The first step is to create an inventory of those assets.  The next step is to decide how you wish to preserve and transfer your digital assets.   There are a number of “online storage accounts” that offer services to allow users to store digital assets, as well as information about digital assets, for a monthly or annual fee.   Many will allow a designated person to access an owner’s digital assets upon death or disability.     The third step is to notify a fiduciary in writing that the account exists.     Finally, you should always review and update your inventory of digital assets at least once a year.

Not to be construed as legal advice.  Please consult with a qualified legal and/or tax professional.  

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