Garton & Harris

Consider digital assets when preparing wills

Those who are planning for the succession of their wealth often focus on real estate, bank accounts, beloved items and dependants in their estate plans. However, an increasing number of less tangible assets are making their way into British Columbia wills. Digital assets, a term for access to accounts and technology that may carry financial or emotional value, is a growing topic of discussion in estate planning circles.

"Digital asset" is an umbrella term that can apply to any number of item or accounts. This may include online accounts like emails, social media accounts, blogs, cloud-based document folders, online subscriptions and rewards account. It can also include login information to access hard drives on a computer or phone. Finally, online subscriptions and payment methods should be considered as subscriptions will likely need to be cancelled after death.

Access to online accounts is often dependant on a password, but it can also require double authentication where a code is sent to a phone or email address. For this reason, it is important that executors be left with information to access this technology as well as account passwords if they hope to login to the accounts. Some digital assets, like loyalty points, can have complicated terms related to succession, so looking into these and working them into a plan is a good idea.

There are some individuals for whom digital assets are of primary importance, such as those who own cryptocurrency. However, anyone who has as much as an email address or social media account should consider adding account details and wishes into estate planning documents. A British Columbia lawyer can clarify the best means of recording this information so it is both legally binding and securely stored.

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