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    Safeguarding Digital Assets

    By Jay Greene, Esq., CPA–

    Digital assets refer to any electronically stored information or data owned by an individual, including cryptocurrencies, online accounts, digital files, and social media accounts. Digital assets encompass a wide range, such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, email and social media accounts, digital photos and videos, digital documents, and online subscriptions.

    Identify and inventory digital assets.

    Start by making a detailed inventory of all your digital assets, including the respective platforms or accounts where they are held. Ensure you document the login credentials, security keys, and any other necessary information required to access each digital asset. Clearly specify who owns each digital asset and outline your desired beneficiaries or heirs.

    Understand digital asset laws and terms of service.

    Familiarize yourself with the laws governing digital assets in your country or state, as they can vary significantly. Read and understand the terms of service for each platform or account to know how they handle digital assets after the owner’s demise.

    Appoint a digital executor or fiduciary.

    Choose a trusted individual or professional to act as your digital executor, responsible for managing and distributing your digital assets according to your wishes. Clearly name the person you want to fulfill this role in your estate plan. Provide detailed instructions on how you want your digital executor to handle your digital assets, including accessing and distributing them.

    Secure your digital assets.

    Enhance the security of your online accounts with strong and unique passwords, multi-factor authentication, and encryption where possible. Store passwords and other access credentials in a secure and password-protected manner, using tools like password managers or encrypted files. If you own cryptocurrencies, consider using hardware wallets to securely store your private keys offline.

    Include digital assets in your will or trust.

    Make sure your will or trust explicitly includes provisions for the distribution of digital assets. Clearly outline how your digital executor should access and distribute your digital assets. Regularly review and update your estate plan to include any new digital assets you acquire.

    Create a digital asset authorization document.

    Create a document that grants specific individuals or fiduciaries the authority to access and manage your digital assets. Clearly define the level of access the designated individuals should have to avoid unauthorized use. Keep the authorization document in a secure location, informing your digital executor and trusted individuals of its existence.

    Provide instructions for social media and online presence.

    Determine whether you want your social media accounts to be memorialized or deleted after your passing. Appoint a person to handle your online presence, respond to messages, and follow your wishes regarding your digital legacy. Specify any posthumous messages or memorial preferences you may have for your online accounts.

    Discuss your digital estate plan with family members.

    Communicate with your family members and loved ones about your digital estate plan’s existence and its purpose. Ensure your family knows who will be responsible for handling your digital assets. Be open to addressing any concerns or questions your family may have regarding your digital assets and estate plan.

    Regularly review and update the digital estate plan.

    Plan regular reviews of your digital asset inventory and estate plan to keep it up-to-date with changes in your digital life. Update access credentials and authorization documents as needed due to password changes or other security updates. Stay informed about any changes in laws and regulations concerning digital assets to ensure your estate plan remains legally compliant.

    If you are looking for help with your own estate planning needs, or would like to discuss how we can help your loved ones with their plans, please feel free to contact us at or call us at 415-905-0215.

    Statements In Compliance with California Rules of Professional Conduct: The materials in this article have been prepared by Attorney Jay Greene for educational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Individuals should consult with an estate planning and elder law attorney for up-to-date information for their individual plans.

    Jay Greene, Attorney, CPA, is the founder of Greene Estate, Probate, & Elder Law Firm based in San Francisco, and is focused on helping LGBT individuals, couples, and families plan for their future, protect their assets, and preserve their wealth. For more information and to schedule an assessment, visit:

    Trust Essentials
    Published on August 24, 2023