In the 21st century, many Hawai’i residents conduct at least a portion of their lives in a digital environment. Many Americans now choose to socialize and work online. Some U.S. citizens even collect and manage high-value assets online.
For example, if you own a valuable cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, you know that you cannot manage these assets in a bank. Instead, cryptocurrencies are stored digitally with powerful encryption technology ensuring that only you can access your crypto.
Internet encryption protocols do an adequate job of protecting digital assets during your lifetime, but what will happen to them upon your death? If you have not addressed your online property in your estate planning efforts, they could be lost to your heirs forever.
What are some examples of digital assets?
We have already discussed cryptocurrency, arguably the most valuable digital property you may own. However, you probably possess other digital assets that need your protection. Examples of these assets include:
- Blogs and web domains: If you own revenue-generating blogs and websites, your heirs will need to access them after your death to continue earning.
- Email accounts: If you have abandoned traditional land correspondence regarding your financial assets and property, your heirs will need to know your email passwords to gain access.
- Cloud storage: If you have any digital property in a cloud-based environment, your family cannot access it without current passwords and usernames.
- Online bank accounts: If you keep some of your wealth stored securely through online access, you must make access information available to your heirs.
It is wise to seek legal guidance when addressing valuable digital property in your estate plan. We also recommend learning more about the laws that govern estate planning in Hawai’i.