When it comes to estate management and planning, the assets that come to mind will most likely be tangible objects like money, properties, cars and so on. However, in this day and age, we cannot deny that a large part of our lives is intertwined with the digital world and we have to be aware of the importance of digital asset management.
What Are Digital Assets?
From communication outlets like our email accounts, cloud storages as well as the content we store in them, social media accounts which for many counts as a source of income, to ecommerce and investment accounts, all these are considered digital assets. Basically, almost everything that you keep a record of digitally can be considered as a digital asset.
However, do note that certain things cannot be counted as a digital asset; for example while your digital banking account is a digital asset, the monies in the account are not and would be included as part of your estate instead.
How to Protect Your Digital Assets?
In our lifetime we can safeguard our digital assets by practising due diligence when it comes to cyber security (for example; ensure that our security systems on our devices are up to date and be vigilant and aware of phishing scam tactics to avoid falling into their traps) as well as getting digital asset insurance as an additional layer of protection in the event of a cyber security breach.
However, we need to consider what happens to our digital assets upon our passing as it will have an impact on the legacy we leave behind, for example, you might want to transfer your storage of pictures and videos to your loved ones so that they can look back at the memories you shared with them. This is why it is important to look into creating a digital estate plan for the ease of management of your digital assets when you pass on.
Here are 4 steps to creating your digital estate plan:
1. Make a list of all your digital accounts
The first step is to create an inventory of all the digital accounts you hold, this includes login details like your usernames, passwords and answers to security questions as well as subscription status and fees.
2. Decide what is to be done with each account upon your passing
3. Ensure that your executor has access
Next will be to make sure that your executor has access to the list and details as he/she will be the one to carry out your instructions in the management of those digital assets.
4. Update details whenever changes occur
Very often we will be required to change our passwords for security reasons or in our lifetime decide to terminate listed digital subscription services. Remember to always update your digital asset list with such changes so as to make the management process as smooth as possible.
Do You Need a Lawyer To Make a Digital Estate Plan?
While you do not need a lawyer to do so, the process of making an estate plan in Singapore can be challenging for a person with no prior knowledge in this field, thus it is recommended to engage professional help to ensure that you avoid the common mistakes in writing a will. They can also give you comprehensive estate planning tips so that your wishes are recorded securely and legally.
If you are planning to write a will and require the service of an estate planning lawyer, or have any questions about will writing in Singapore and require professional estate planning assistance, feel free to get in touch with us.