The internet opens a world of possibilities to store personal data, to manage assets, and to gather and create digital content.
But too often that data gets forgotten when it comes to estate planning—and that can cause problems for family members and heirs.
“We often forget the fact that we are usually the only ones that can access these accounts,” says Tamara Telesko, director of wealth planning strategies at TIAA and a specialist in estate planning and income-tax issues.
The result is that when an online-account holder becomes incapacitated or dies, beneficiaries can be blocked from financial documents and accounts related to banking, brokerages or cryptocurrency. Frequent-flier or credit-card points can go to waste. Many kinds of nonfinancial assets, such as photos, social-media accounts, family trees and blog posts may never be seen again.
Here’s some advice for creating an estate plan for digital assets.