VanNess & VanNess, P.A.
352-436-4333

Digital assets and estate planning

Some Florida residents who are creating an estate plan may think of assets as tangible things, but they might own digital assets as well. These can range from libraries of music to Bitcoins to credit in accounts, domain names and online businesses. Some digital assets, such as photos, do not have monetary worth. However, it has been estimated that worldwide, people own $35,000 to $55,000 worth of digital assets on average.

There are several steps involved in estate planning with digital assets. It is necessary to identify the assets and to leave instructions on how to access them. Testators should also have a sense of what these assets are worth although they may be valued after their death during probate and for tax purposes.

For assets that are not credits or other monetary amounts, valuation could be complex. For example, an appraiser might need to be hired to value an online business.

Some people may put off estate planning because it seems like an overwhelming task. Families often do not want to talk about issues around estate planning, but communicating with loved ones may help reduce the likelihood that the plan will be challenged or misunderstood. In addition to making a list of digital assets, an early step in estate planning is making a list of physical assets. This may include bank accounts, investments and sentimental items. People might want to talk to an attorney about whether a will is sufficient in their situation or if they need a trust. While some people may think of a trust as only for the wealthy, it can be a useful tool in a variety of situations including caring for relatives who have special needs or for children younger than 18.

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