Daniel W. Uhlfelder P.A. | Attorneys At Law


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Digital assets may not fit in an estate plan 

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2023 | Estate Planning

There will be room in your estate plan for many of the assets that you own. People will sometimes simply make a plan that lists all of their assets and shows how they should be distributed. But you can also take more complex steps to have control over this process, such as putting assets into a trust or creating payable-on-death accounts that will instantly transfer to your heirs.

While doing all of this, you may start thinking about the digital assets that you own. These are becoming more and more common in the modern era, and they can include things like books, movies, video games and musical records. You may have invested thousands of dollars in all of these, and they also have a lot of sentimental value. But if you have purchased digital files, can you actually put them in your estate plan?

You may not even own them

You often cannot, and the problem is that they are not even assets that you own. What you find with the agreements that many digital service providers use is that they allow you to buy a license. This license is connected to your account and cannot be transferred or given to anyone else.

As long as you have the license, you are allowed to listen to music or watch a movie whenever you want. Many people mistake this for ownership of that asset, but it is still owned by the company that sold the license. Therefore, you cannot put digital collections into your estate plan and transfer them to your heirs.

This is just one example of how modern estate planning is growing more complicated and why you need to know exactly what options you have.