Can your will include digital assets?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Most of the time, a will is going to include two different types of assets. First, you have physical assets that the person owns. These are tangible in nature, and may need to be sold or simply given to various family members. Examples include art collections, homes, cars and much more.

Secondly, you have financial assets. These are just different accounts or funds that are being transferred to the next generation. One example could be the contents of a local checking account, while another could be the contents of overseas investments. The complexity of these assets varies widely from one person to the next, but most people have at least some financial assets to include.

In 2023 and beyond, though, people are often purchasing digital assets. They no longer buy certain kinds of entertainment, like video games or music or movies, in the way that they once did. There’s no physical device, and everything is simply accessed through digital files. If you spent thousands of dollars purchasing these files, you may want to know if you can transfer them to your children.

Some services do not allow it

It depends on where you purchased those digital assets. There are some situations in which you actually own them and you could transfer them to someone else, simply by putting them on a physical device like a hard drive and passing that on to the individual.

However, many people sign agreements when they buy these products, saying that they are actually purchasing a license. They’re not buying the product at all, and they do not own it. They’ve actually just bought a license to use that digital file – to watch a movie, for example – whenever they want. But the license itself cannot be transferred, and they don’t own the product, so there is nothing to put in an estate plan.

Modern estate planning

Estate planning is only getting more complex by the day, and it’s important to understand all the options you have.