Advisors – Talk To Your Clients About Digital Estate Planning

Financial advisors have long espoused the importance of estate planning as a tool to help clients avoid costly, and potentially invasive, issues following death.

Clients without a will, for example, will likely see their heirs dragged through the process known as probate, which is when the courts decide which assets go to which beneficiaries.  

It’s no secret that estate planning has long been a significant aspect of a financial advisor’s job.

Nowadays, a financial advisor would be remiss if he or she fails to inform clients about the importance of digital estate planning, which deals with those assets located in cyberspace.

Since much of our lives these days are spent online, it’s important to go through an inventory of our “digital assets” and take stock of the things we have that we want to go to our loved ones after we shed this mortal coil.

Advisors should be urging clients to do just this, since it’s no longer just tangible assets that make up the entirety of our estates.

Digital assets can include everything from your social media accounts, online bank accounts and email accounts to things like revenue-generating blog sites or self-published author sites.

States are beginning to pass laws that govern how online accounts should be handled after someone’s death when it comes to estate planning.

And estate planning attorneys and financial advisors involved in such family matters continue to help people through the process of obtaining permission to oversee a deceased relative’s online accounts, since Internet providers often will only release such contents if such direction is provided through a will, trust, power of attorney or other written legal directive.

In the past, the transfer of your tangible assets was the only important thing to consider whereas estate planning was concerned.

Today, however, a lot more emphasis is being placed on one’s intangible assets, since our lives are being lived online now so more than ever before. 

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