Estate Plannning in California: How to Incorporate Digital Assets Like Social Media Accounts and Cryptocurrency

Estate Plannning in California: How to Incorporate Digital Assets Like Social Media Accounts and Cryptocurrency

Digital Side of Estate Planning in California - couple discovering how to include digital assets in their estate plan

Introduction to Digital Assets in Estate Planning

In today’s digital age, estate planning goes beyond just physical assets like houses and cars; it also covers digital assets like social media accounts, email, digital photos, and cryptocurrency. California has stepped up to the new digital reality by setting up laws to manage these digital assets. For instance, recent laws like the California Digital Financial Assets Law (DFAL) and Senate Bill 401, signed on October 13, 2023, are set to regulate activities related to virtual currency from July 1, 2025. Additionally, the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act allows designated individuals to access, modify, and delete digital content of someone who has passed away, including social media accounts. Discover the digital side of estate planning in California.

Steps to Incorporate Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

Here are some steps to consider when incorporating digital assets into your estate plan in California:

  1. List Your Digital Assets: Make a detailed list of all your digital assets, such as social media accounts, email accounts, digital photos, videos, blogs, and cryptocurrencies. Include where to find them and the login details like usernames and passwords.
  2. Get Professional Advice: It’s a good idea to talk to a professional to help you draft legal documents that specify what you want to happen to your digital assets. This could be through wills or trusts.
  3. Pick a Digital Helper: Choose a trusted person to act as a digital executor. This person will ensure your digital assets are handled according to your wishes as outlined in your legal documents.
  4. Keep Everything Secure: Store your digital asset list and legal documents safely, but make sure your digital executor can access them when needed.
  5. Check-in Regularly: The digital world changes fast. Regularly review and update your digital estate plan to make sure it stays current with new laws and technologies.
  6. Talk to Your Heirs: Let your heirs know about your digital estate plan and how to access digital assets when the time comes.

Consequences of Overlooking Digital Assets

Failing to include digital assets in an estate plan can lead to many complications. Without clear directives, your loved ones may struggle to access crucial digital accounts or assets, like social media profiles, email accounts, or cryptocurrency wallets, potentially leading to financial loss or the erasure of cherished memories and online identities. 

Moreover, legal battles could arise among heirs if the distribution of digital assets is not clearly outlined, causing additional stress during an already challenging time. Lack of planning regarding digital assets could also result in privacy breaches, as sensitive information in emails or other digital platforms could fall into the wrong hands. Hence, addressing digital assets in your estate plan is a prudent step towards avoiding such undesirable scenarios, ensuring a smooth transition of your digital legacy, and providing clarity and ease for your loved ones.

Assistance in Digital Estate Planning in California

Legal document assistants can help simplify the complex process of including digital assets in your estate plan, ensuring that your physical and digital assets are well taken care of in line with California’s legal framework. They can assist in drafting the necessary documents that reflect your wishes on how your digital assets should be handled, making the process less daunting.

Taking steps today to include your digital assets in your estate plan will ensure that your digital legacy is well-managed and passed on in the way you desire. Reach out to us to get started on your digital estate plan today. Your future self and your loved ones will thank you.