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Include digital assets in your estate plan

When you create an estate plan, you add your assets to that plan. You list everything you own, including your home, vehicle and other property. One type of asset you may not have considered adding are your digital assets.

It's important to have a record of everything you own, whether it's something tangible or not. If you don't, the asset could go missing and be lost to your estate forever. That's the last thing you want, especially if your digital assets are worth a lot of money.

What kinds of assets are digital assets?

Your email is a good place to start. Emails have plenty of information. They might have your passwords or contacts' information. Emails may log you in on the pages of different services. The same is true for Gmail, Facebook or Twitter accounts. Having access to these pages is important for individuals who have to take care of your estate.

If you don't leave information on accessing these accounts, it could become hard for your family to obtain information from them. Getting into online accounts is complicated, and they may have to submit a death certificate or other information to be granted access.

These assets don't necessarily have monetary value, but some do. For example, if you have a PayPal account that you receive residual payments to, your beneficiaries will need access to that account to get those funds. If they can't access the account, then they could lose access to those funds forever, and they may be lost to your family for good.

You'll want your executor to have all digital passwords and information, because these accounts are often linked to one another. They're open to hacking, and since they link to your credit cards, bank accounts and other assets, it's vital that your loved ones can access them and monitor them for fraud.

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