Digital Assets Belong in Your Estate Plan

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

When we think of estate planning and protecting our assets, the assets that first come to mind are a house, real estate, jewelry, family heirlooms, bank accounts, and investments. What is often overlooked are our digital assets: the photos we share online, the material we publish online, our text messages, social media profiles, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs. Technology is part of our day-to-day lives and many of our assets exist online. It is important to protect those digital assets in your comprehensive estate plan.

First Step: Review Your Online Presence

When you embark on estate planning, one of the first steps is to collect information regarding your assets—bank account balances, value of personal property, and any outstanding debts. During this process, include information regarding your digital assets by compiling a list of all your online accounts and passwords for each.

Wisconsin Digital Property Act: You Control Access

In 2016, the Wisconsin legislature adopted the Wisconsin Digital Property Act, which allows individuals to express their wishes regarding granting fiduciary access and disclosure to digital property.

Once your digital assets—known as digital property—are included in your estate plan, you can decide who has access to your online accounts and how those assets will be managed. Keep in mind that different service providers have policies and agreements in their terms of use. Collect and review each provider’s policy so you can appropriately protect those assets in your estate plan.

Estate Planning Eases the Burden on Loved Ones

By designing an estate plan that includes your digital property, you will ease the burden on your loved ones by expressing who can access your digital property and how. Speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss how to protect your property and provide for your loved ones.