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Safeguarding Your Digital Legacy: Why Including Digital Assets in Your New York Estate Plan is Crucial

Posted by Irena Mykyta | Mar 11, 2024 | 0 Comments

In this digital age, where much of our lives are intertwined with technology, it's essential to consider the fate of our digital assets alongside traditional ones when planning our estates. From cherished memories stored in cloud services to cryptocurrencies and NFTs, digital assets have become an integral part of our wealth and legacy. As such, overlooking their inclusion in estate planning documents can lead to complications and even loss.

But what exactly are digital assets? In layman's terms, digital assets encompass anything stored electronically, ranging from social media accounts, emails, and digital photos to more complex assets like cryptocurrencies (e.g., Bitcoin) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) representing digital art or collectibles. Essentially, if it exists in digital form and holds value or sentiment, it's considered a digital asset.

So why is it imperative to include provisions for these assets in your estate planning documents? Firstly, federal privacy laws can pose significant hurdles for loved ones seeking access to your electronic devices and accounts after your passing. Without clear instructions or legal authority, accessing and managing these assets can become arduous if not impossible for your designated representatives.

In New York, the distribution of digital assets upon death is governed by the New York Estates, Powers, & Trust Law (EPTL). This law empowers a decedent's personal representative, trustee, or agent to access and manage digital assets and electronic communications. However, explicit direction must be provided within estate planning documents to grant these individuals authorized access. 

Planning ahead is paramount. By appointing an executor or trustee and furnishing them with the necessary information and instructions, you ensure the smooth retrieval or nondisclosure of digital assets according to your wishes. This may involve creating a comprehensive list of passwords, usernames, and relevant account information to facilitate access.

In conclusion, safeguarding your digital legacy is an integral aspect of comprehensive estate planning in today's digital landscape. Failure to address these assets can lead to complications, privacy breaches, or even loss of valuable digital assets. If you're ready to take proactive steps to protect your digital legacy, we're here to help.

At Mykyta Law, we specialize in estate planning tailored to your unique needs, and advise on the inclusion of digital assets in wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. Don't leave your digital legacy to chance. Contact us today at 646-884-3319 or through our website contact form to learn more and ensure your digital assets are secure for future generations.

About the Author

Irena Mykyta

 In 2014, Irena founded her own law firm in order to provide clients with more individualized attention, - something she always dreamed about when she worked as a judicial clerk at the New York State Supreme Court and as an associate at a prominent New York law firm. Her firm's focus on a few cor...


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