In Calgary, like almost everywhere on the planet, our lives are now conducted increasingly online.
Accordingly, most people have accumulated digital assets in one way or another. These may be large or small, from ecommerce stores to Bitcoin holdings, and from an Instagram account to an online bank account.
However, when we come to estate planning, many still tend to take a traditional approach that does not fully consider these assets.
A comprehensive estate plan takes into account digital assets as well as real-world “brick and mortar” assets.
The team at Vest Estate Lawyers in Calgary is ready to help you plan and execute a modern estate plan that considers all of your interests.
Files stored on digital devices such as computers laptops, tablets, storage devices, smartphones, etc.
Emails, digital media (music/photos/videos), software licences, social media accounts (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), online banking and financial accounts, domain names and websites (including online stores) as well as e-subscriptions, air miles, digital rewards programs, and so on.
Access to these files that we take for granted in life can be complex for loved ones, attorneys, and personal representatives after you die or become incapacitated – unless you have considered and put in place some digital asset planning.
What are the main considerations with digital estate planning
Digital estate planning requires consideration of all your digital assets and the granting of powers to access them when you are incapacitated or deceased.
Most of us accumulate considerable digital assets over a lifetime, and these assets are subject to strict privacy and data protection laws.
Your estate plan, therefore, needs to organize, protect, manage, and pass these assets on responsibly to the intended beneficiaries.
These estate planning documents can provide instructions for digital assets – granting access to attorneys and personal representatives to manage and dispose of according to your wishes.
Like with all assets, unless their smooth transfer is preplanned and clearly stated, complications and delays for family members can arise after death. Fraud and identity theft are also more likely if there are delays in accessing the digital assets of a deceased person.
There is no legislation currently that deals with the disposal of digital assets specifically. It is best to speak to the team at Vest Estate Lawyers LLP about your needs in this regard.
We can include the relevant clauses and specifications when drawing up your will or enduring power of attorney,considering the following key elements:
Designating appropriate powers – personal representatives and “attorneys” need to be granted the specific and appropriate powers to access, manage, and distribute digital assets to beneficiaries.
Inserting relevant definitions and clauses – all estate planning documents dealing with digital assets need to define what assets they refer to and relevant clauses should be inserted wherever necessary to specifically address these assets.
Creating an inventory of digital assets – attorneys and personal representatives should have access to an inventory of digital assets, detailing each asset, the usernames/passwords/PINs, answers to security questions, and instructions on how they should be managed in the event of incapacity or death.
It is never too early to start estate planning – and most people need more than a simple will to cover their needs. A few essential documents can help you ensure that assets end up where you intend and that your children, spouse, or other loved ones are properly cared for. Our firm focuses on a wide range of Estate Planning services to suit all your needs.
Call 403-226-9757 or contact us through the form below to book a meet and greet with one of our estate lawyers. You don’t need to be wealthy to want the peace of mind that an estate plan brings. It is too late to make decisions if you lose the capacity to do so. Whatever your estate planning needs, contact us now for a confidential one-on-one evaluation.