People in Ohio thinking about the future may want to do their best to ensure that their loved ones are cared for after they are gone. To that end, they may make out a will and develop an estate plan. While people often think about real estate, bank accounts and other tangible or financial items when planning for the future, they may pay less attention to digital assets like email accounts, social media profiles, online subscriptions or even cryptocurrency wallets. People are spending more time and money online than ever before, but making an estate plan for these digital assets is often overlooked.
While a growing number of states are attempting to address confusion by adopting uniform laws for the default handling of the digital assets of people who pass away, many people want to make their own plans for the future. They can include their digital assets in their wills, trusts and powers of attorney in order to do so. The process of developing a digital estate plan begins with gathering an inventory of a person's digital existence, including various online accounts as well as key files and hardware like computers, smartphones or tablets.
People can also identify a person they want to manage their digital assets if they are incapacitated or die. In some cases, this may be the same person designated to handle financial matters; in other cases, people may want to name someone with more technical skills. In either case, people should be sure to have some type of secured document with their passwords for major online accounts to allow the designated person access.
Digital assets are becoming more central to people's lives and identities. An estate planning lawyer may help people develop wills, trusts and other estate documents that fully address plans for both digital and tangible property.