422 North Northwest Highway, B-5
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068

Park Ridge IL Medicaid and Estate Planning Legal Blog

Sunday, February 17, 2019

What is digital asset planning?

You may think you have a comprehensive estate plan in place. You saw an expert, had a last will and testament drawn up naming legal guardians for any minor children and disposing of probate property. Maybe you established a living trust as well. 

You probably planned for incapacity by drawing up the necessary documents including but not limited to powers of attorney appointing trusted people to make medical and/or financial decisions on your behalf in the event you become disabled and incompetent to make them yourself. You might even have done some Medicaid planning to protect your nest-egg and secure your family’s financial future in the event you need long-term care one day. 

But have you really thought of everything? The answer may depend, in part, on how long it’s been since you updated that estate plan. The fact is that the world becomes more complex every day and estate planning must keep up with these changes. 

People may not be aware when advising their estate planning attorney of all of their assets that in addition to the standard, tangible assets like houses, cars, furniture, jewelry, and bank accounts, many people have intangible digital assets which are stored on our laptops and iPhones and other digital devices. Not the device itself, but what it contains. Examples include “email accounts, websites, software program, cryptocurrency, credit card reward points, blog posts, Facebook and online photos” and more. 

Some of these digital assets have a real monetary value while others have only a sentimental value. Knowing where to find these assets and knowing the passwords and other information required to access them can pose major problems to survivors. Even if complete lists with passwords and login information were made at the time an estate plan is drawn, accounts are opened and closed and passwords are changed so often it’s hard to keep that list current. 

In addition, the Terms of Service Agreement attached to the account upon its creation (that long document most people just agree to without reading it) generally governs ownership rights of and access to the account-- and most of those agreements prohibit the account being transferred to someone else. Abandoned accounts pose a problem of potential identity theft through hackers. 

“Digital asset planning also requires planning as to which accounts you want memorialized, continued or deleted and what information you want preserved or removed.” These digital assets sound futuristic but nearly everyone already has digital assets. Their estate plan needs to address this newly-emerging area.

If you need assistance with an original estate plan or would like to modify an existing estate plan, the Law Office of Thomas J. Hansen help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

From our offices in Park Ridge, we represent clients throughout Cook County, Illinois as well as Niles, Des Plaines, Glenview, Norridge, and Rosemont.

Thomas J. Hansen, LTD. assists clients in Park Ridge, Cook County, IL as well as Niles, Des Plaines, Glenview, Norridge, and Rosemont.

© 2024 Thomas J. Hansen, Ltd. | Disclaimer
350 S Northwest Hwy, 300, Park Ridge, IL 60068
| Phone: 84729218000

Asset Protection | Advanced Estate Planning | Estate Planning | Federal Tax Controversy | Living Trusts and Wills | Medicaid Planning | Planning for Children | Power of Attorney | Probate & Estate Administration | Residential and Commercial Real Estate | Special Needs Planning | Tax Appeals | Tax Audits | Tax Return Preparation | | Resources