Digital Assets – explained and protected!

What is a “digital asset”?  And, why does it matter to you?

Digital assets are non-tangible things you own (assets) that tend to live on or in the Internet “digital”.  Tangible assets like cars, hours, or money can be transferred by deed or title.  Digital assets are much hard to transfer or for some even to conceptualize.

Three Different types of Digital Assets

I like to think about three types of digital assets.

One is passwords, or secrets, that you use to access your digital assets, and are digital assets themselves.

The second is social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.  This also may include your email or website.  This type of asset contains information that is specific to you (pictures, email conversations, and so on) that are your “assets”.

The third type is a new idea … that is digital currency, also known as “cryptocurrency“.

Passwords and other secrets

For example, think about your bank account.  If you use on-line access, the password and the “access” to the account could be considered a Digital Asset.  When you actually remember the password, access is easy.  If you forget it, it is harder, but recovery can be easy if you recall the answers to secret questions.   But, you might forget those too, making recovery much harder.  A solution is to use a password manager or to simply write it down.  What is the “best” appraoch?   I can assist you in thinking through what makes sense for you.

Here is a video that goes into a little more depth

Social Media

Another type of digital asset is your social media accounts.  If you have an email account, or Facebook or Twitter, and you have ever posted or emailed anything .. those are your digital assets.  When you die, you’d probably like them to be turned off, deleted, or sent to your heirs, right?  Well, a “digital executor” can be named to do this.  Recent changes in North Carolina law to adopt the Uniform Power of Attorney act (which is a body of law that hopes to commonize laws across the 50 states) includes Digital Executor provisions.

Our office can assist you in getting this set up for you, by adding the appropriate provisions to your will and/or financial Power of Attorney documents.  Visit the office today!

Here is a short video that goes deeper into social media accounts.

Cryptocurrency

The third type of digital asset is more like the traditional assets we leave to heirs.  But, it is fundamentally different in complex and intriguing ways.

One of the key differences is that it is by nature very secret and very protected.

You can see the bank, or you receive bank statements, and accounts show up ion your credit report.  That means that your executor or agents can figure out what you own.  But secret accounts just do not show up anywhere!  And, the asset itself might reside as a token on a hardware “wallet” that looks like a little flash drive…   Some families have been known to throw away the “flash drive” not realizing that it contained thousands of dollars of real digital currency!  Here is a short video that highlights a few areas of interest in crypto currencies.

Don’t let this be you!

Call our office at 919-883-2800 to schedule a meeting to discuss your crypto-currency and learn how to protect it while also making it available to your heirs.

Why does this matter in Estate Planning?

You need to know that your assets transfer to the people you want, in the way you want, and in the amounts and duration that you want.  While traditional wills and trusts do this just fine for traditional assets, digital assets make this harder and more complex.

Standard approaches just don’t work.

Call us today for help and to get the
digital assets in your life squared away!

919-883-2800

 

Protect your children!

Protecting your kids with a PLAN ensures that your kids are always taken care of by whom you want, in the way you want, no matter what.

If you are ready for the total assurance and peace of mind knowing you’ve done everything you can to protect your children from ever being removed from your home and placed in the arms of strangers, even for a moment, please contact us today to get started with your Kids Protection Plan.

Each Kids Protection Plan includes:

  1. Legal documents naming short-term guardians who can be there immediately for your children so they’ll never be taken into the arms of strangers, not even for a minute.
  2. Letters to your short-term guardians so the people you’ve named will know exactly what to do if called upon.
  3. Instructions to everyone who takes care of your kids as to what to do if you are in an accident … so they know exactly who to call.
  4. Legal documents naming long-term guardians who you trust to raise your children just as you would want.
  5. Letters to your long-term guardians letting them know what to do if called upon.
  6. Instructions and guidelines for your long-term guardians on how you want your kids to be raised … with your values, insights, and stories.
  7. Medical Powers of Attorney for your minor children so the next time they travel without you, or you travel without them, you know they’ll get the medical care they need.
  8. A custom, personalized I.D. card for your wallet stating you have minor children at home and indicating exactly who should be contacted if you are ever in an accident.

We can help you avoid the common mistakes made when naming legal guardians and put in place all the other elements of a Kids Protection Plan for your family. All you need to do is call us to schedule an appointment at 919-883-2800, or schedule on-line right now.

More questions about Kids Protection Planning?

Here are some common questions and answers …

Change the Will when the testator must downsize?

Downsize Needed?

Sometimes, people will have a significant list of items in their home to go to others. But, when it is time to downsize, and move to a new smaller residence or to assisted living, what should a person do with them?

In general, the advice I give is in two parts… sell it, or give it now.  Which choice depends on the answers to a couple of questions:
  1. Does the testator (the person writing the Will) need money that would be gained through sale of the items?
  2. Can the testator fit certain (or all) the items in the new downsize residence?  Does she even want to take them all?  Can she afford the cost of moving the items?
  3. Will the persons to whom the items were intended be a able to take them now, and/or be upset if the items were not available in the future?  This might happen, for example, when grandkids are the intended recipient and they do not have a place of their own or are still living at school.

Give the gift now!

Usually, the gift given during the testator’s life is more appreciated than after death.  And, the testator can enjoy seeing the recipient have the gift and use it.  Wonderful memories are shared when grandmother’s pearl necklace is given to a great-granddaughter along with the story of how she got it in the first place!  Or, of hearing the piano played by a grandchild who could not afford one for many more years!
And, if you do decide to give the gifts now, do these two things as well:
  • Gift them as instructed in the will  – it fulfills her wishes ahead of time, and it will prevent hurt feelings when the will is later revealed and everyone sees that the “wrong person” ended up with the necklace, piano, painting (or whatever).
  • Then, mark a copy of the will with gifts given out and identify which she still has with her.  That will make the executor’s job a lot easier in the future!

The choice to downsize can be a difficult time for lots of reasons.  Derive immediate joy by gifting the important personal possession now.

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