Home 9 Blog Posts 9 Can estate planning still protect your digital assets?

Can estate planning still protect your digital assets?

September 13, 2022
SHARE
Abandoned assets and unclaimed proceeds

Estate planning and Wills have been used for years to protect people’s assets and ensure they’ll be inherited by the designated heirs. 

With the advent of digital estate planning services and online wills, we would expect this protection to be even greater, especially with the increase in the number of digital and financial assets that the average person holds. 

But we are seeing a completely different trend. The number of unclaimed assets in the USA, Europe and globally is skyrocketing, and many of these unclaimed assets are the proceeds of estates. 

Why does something that worked for so many years seem to not work anymore? 

Let’s see the reasons, and also look at what we should change so that our digital and financial assets are well protected

 

If estate planning is still effective, why is the amount of unclaimed proceeds of estates increasing alarmingly? 

Estate planning and wills have been used for years to protect people’s assets and ensure they’ll be inherited by the designated heirs

The status quo was disrupted by two important trends that emerged in the last decade.

The amount of unclaimed proceeds from estates is increasing massively.

That’s a red flag that something is wrong with estate planning. If it can successfully protect our assets, why have the unclaimed proceeds of estates increased so dramatically in the last decade?

The number of online estate planning and will drafting services is increasing. 

We are seeing a sharp rise in the number of these services and the number of people who use them. 

Why is the number of these services increasing? Do these digital estate planning tools and online will drafting services protect effectively against the problem of unclaimed estate proceeds? 

Let’s review the topic to answer the question of whether traditional estate planning, or its newer online and digital versions, are still in a position to enable people to protect their digital and financial assets. 

 

Estate planning and online will drafting services

We are seeing a big increase in the number of estate planning services. There are numerous tools and services that offer digital estate planning, online will drafting, and templates for various inheritance documents. 

Basically, these services and tools digitalize the offline estate planning process. Instead of providing information to attorneys, you provide that information to the tool by answering a series of questions, and at the end, your estate planning document is generated

By digitalizing the process, these services offer much lower prices than attorneys. They are affordable to a much larger potential group of clients, instead of only the high net worth individuals who usually use attorneys for their estate planning. 

Sounds great, right? There is only one catch. There is not the slightest sign that the number of unclaimed estate proceeds is decreasing. How come? Weren’t these online estate planning and Will drafting services supposed to solve the problem? 

 

Why is the amount of unclaimed estate proceeds increasing in the first place? 

Before seeing whether these new kinds of online estate planning services are effective, we must answer the question of why we have this problem in the first place. 

Years ago, people had a short and simple list of assets. Even the wealthy ones. Most commonly, their assets included a bank account, real-estate, and probably life insurance. 

Not only was the list short, but also the assets of people 20 and 30 years ago were fairly static. They rarely changed, and it was easy to describe them in an estate planning document. 

These days, the picture couldn’t be more different. People have multiple and complex assets, many of them digital, and many of them dispersed in various corners of the internet universe. 

Company stocks in a digital investment application, company shares on a sheet of paper in the drawer, life insurance somewhere else, a bit of crypto in that other digital wallet, ETFs in an investment portfolio, stock options, ESOPs and RSUs, and bank accounts, including, probably, an account with a mobile banking service. The list can continue. Oh, and of course real estate. 

In addition to this massively changed landscape of assets, they are also dynamic. Think about what assets you personally had only 5 years ago and compare them with the picture now. I bet it’s quite different. 

In addition to the much longer list of assets, and their dynamic nature, there are other trends that contribute to the problem. For example, the number of expats is rapidly increasing globally. Why is that important? Because many of their assets, in addition to being complex and frequently changing, are also often located in different countries. This adds a new level of complexity

Now we start seeing why estate planning cannot effectively protect people and their assets. 

  1. First, because the assets are dynamic. If you do estate planning now, chances are high that in just a few years it will be outdated. 
  1. Second, because many of your assets require digital access and are dispersed in different online repositories, wallets and systems. Even if your beneficiaries know about your assets, they probably won’t be able to locate or access them. 

 

Wouldn’t a simple “catch-all” clause solve the problem of changing assets? 

Not really. The primary problem is that your beneficiaries don’t know what and where “all” is. Or how to access it. 

Are your loved ones aware of the existence of all your digital and financial assets?

Do they know how to locate and access them if something happens to you? 

Unfortunately, estate planning is not answering these questions. You can’t go to your attorney or digital estate planning service every 6 months to update your documents. 

And most of them don’t enable people to provide secure information on how the digital assets can be accessed. 

 

Why are digital estate planning services not solving the problem? 

The primary reason is that digital estate planning and Will drafting services have the same problem as offline ones. Even if you have the best estate planning documents generated by an online inheritance platform, would your loved ones know what all your assets are and, most importantly, how to access your digital and financial assets, wallets, trading platforms, etc? 

Digital estate planning tools don’t solve the problem of your loved ones not knowing how to locate or access your digital and financial assets. 

Online estate planning services are great for easier and cheaper generation of estate planning documents, but they don’t provide a solution to this problem. 

 

How can you effectively protect your assets and ensure they’ll be inherited by your heirs?  

If neither traditional nor digital estate planning and will drafting services effectively protect our assets in the digital world, what’s the solution? 

Digital inheritance services are solving exactly that problem. 

  1. First, many of them have the technology to detect when a fatal event has occurred to the asset owner, and when such an event is detected, they proactively notify the designated beneficiaries of each of the assets. 

Digital inheritance services detect when a fatal event has happened to an asset owner and proactively notify the designated beneficiaries; they don’t need to remember the assets, their locations or the access details. 

Why is that important? Because your loved ones don’t need to be burdened with remembering your assets, their location and access details. Everything is proactively shared with the beneficiaries, per the instructions of the asset owner, if something should happen to him or her. 

  1. Second, digital inheritance services also have secure vault functionality, which enables people to securely store encrypted information about how to access their digital assets

Digital inheritance services enable people to provide their beneficiaries with access details for the assigned digital assets. 

That’s also very important because this way, your loved ones will know not only what the assets are and where they are but also how to access them. 

  1. And the third benefit of digital inheritance services is that they enable people to easily update their asset catalogues. This is usually achieved through web or mobile applications, and the update of the catalogue is a matter of a few easy clicks. 

Are digital inheritance services the answer to the global problem of unclaimed and abandoned assets? 

It seems so. Only the future will tell. Meanwhile, it’s better to take the future of our legacy in our hands and employ a digital inheritance service to protect our assets in the digital world

Can estate planning still protect your digital assets?

Estate planning and Wills have been used for years to protect people’s assets and ensure they’ll be inherited by the designated heirs. 

With the advent of digital estate planning services and online wills, we would expect this protection to be even greater, especially with the increase in the number of digital and financial assets that the average person holds. 

But we are seeing a completely different trend. The number of unclaimed assets in the USA, Europe and globally is skyrocketing, and many of these unclaimed assets are the proceeds of estates. 

Why does something that worked for so many years seem to not work anymore? 

Let’s see the reasons, and also look at what we should change so that our digital and financial assets are well protected

 

If estate planning is still effective, why is the amount of unclaimed proceeds of estates increasing alarmingly? 

Estate planning and wills have been used for years to protect people’s assets and ensure they’ll be inherited by the designated heirs

The status quo was disrupted by two important trends that emerged in the last decade.

The amount of unclaimed proceeds from estates is increasing massively.

That’s a red flag that something is wrong with estate planning. If it can successfully protect our assets, why have the unclaimed proceeds of estates increased so dramatically in the last decade?

The number of online estate planning and will drafting services is increasing. 

We are seeing a sharp rise in the number of these services and the number of people who use them. 

Why is the number of these services increasing? Do these digital estate planning tools and online will drafting services protect effectively against the problem of unclaimed estate proceeds? 

Let’s review the topic to answer the question of whether traditional estate planning, or its newer online and digital versions, are still in a position to enable people to protect their digital and financial assets. 

 

Estate planning and online will drafting services

We are seeing a big increase in the number of estate planning services. There are numerous tools and services that offer digital estate planning, online will drafting, and templates for various inheritance documents. 

Basically, these services and tools digitalize the offline estate planning process. Instead of providing information to attorneys, you provide that information to the tool by answering a series of questions, and at the end, your estate planning document is generated

By digitalizing the process, these services offer much lower prices than attorneys. They are affordable to a much larger potential group of clients, instead of only the high net worth individuals who usually use attorneys for their estate planning. 

Sounds great, right? There is only one catch. There is not the slightest sign that the number of unclaimed estate proceeds is decreasing. How come? Weren’t these online estate planning and Will drafting services supposed to solve the problem? 

 

Why is the amount of unclaimed estate proceeds increasing in the first place? 

Before seeing whether these new kinds of online estate planning services are effective, we must answer the question of why we have this problem in the first place. 

Years ago, people had a short and simple list of assets. Even the wealthy ones. Most commonly, their assets included a bank account, real-estate, and probably life insurance. 

Not only was the list short, but also the assets of people 20 and 30 years ago were fairly static. They rarely changed, and it was easy to describe them in an estate planning document. 

These days, the picture couldn’t be more different. People have multiple and complex assets, many of them digital, and many of them dispersed in various corners of the internet universe. 

Company stocks in a digital investment application, company shares on a sheet of paper in the drawer, life insurance somewhere else, a bit of crypto in that other digital wallet, ETFs in an investment portfolio, stock options, ESOPs and RSUs, and bank accounts, including, probably, an account with a mobile banking service. The list can continue. Oh, and of course real estate. 

In addition to this massively changed landscape of assets, they are also dynamic. Think about what assets you personally had only 5 years ago and compare them with the picture now. I bet it’s quite different. 

In addition to the much longer list of assets, and their dynamic nature, there are other trends that contribute to the problem. For example, the number of expats is rapidly increasing globally. Why is that important? Because many of their assets, in addition to being complex and frequently changing, are also often located in different countries. This adds a new level of complexity

Now we start seeing why estate planning cannot effectively protect people and their assets. 

  1. First, because the assets are dynamic. If you do estate planning now, chances are high that in just a few years it will be outdated. 
  1. Second, because many of your assets require digital access and are dispersed in different online repositories, wallets and systems. Even if your beneficiaries know about your assets, they probably won’t be able to locate or access them. 

 

Wouldn’t a simple “catch-all” clause solve the problem of changing assets? 

Not really. The primary problem is that your beneficiaries don’t know what and where “all” is. Or how to access it. 

Are your loved ones aware of the existence of all your digital and financial assets?

Do they know how to locate and access them if something happens to you? 

Unfortunately, estate planning is not answering these questions. You can’t go to your attorney or digital estate planning service every 6 months to update your documents. 

And most of them don’t enable people to provide secure information on how the digital assets can be accessed. 

 

Why are digital estate planning services not solving the problem? 

The primary reason is that digital estate planning and Will drafting services have the same problem as offline ones. Even if you have the best estate planning documents generated by an online inheritance platform, would your loved ones know what all your assets are and, most importantly, how to access your digital and financial assets, wallets, trading platforms, etc? 

Digital estate planning tools don’t solve the problem of your loved ones not knowing how to locate or access your digital and financial assets. 

Online estate planning services are great for easier and cheaper generation of estate planning documents, but they don’t provide a solution to this problem. 

 

How can you effectively protect your assets and ensure they’ll be inherited by your heirs?  

If neither traditional nor digital estate planning and will drafting services effectively protect our assets in the digital world, what’s the solution? 

Digital inheritance services are solving exactly that problem. 

  1. First, many of them have the technology to detect when a fatal event has occurred to the asset owner, and when such an event is detected, they proactively notify the designated beneficiaries of each of the assets. 

Digital inheritance services detect when a fatal event has happened to an asset owner and proactively notify the designated beneficiaries; they don’t need to remember the assets, their locations or the access details. 

Why is that important? Because your loved ones don’t need to be burdened with remembering your assets, their location and access details. Everything is proactively shared with the beneficiaries, per the instructions of the asset owner, if something should happen to him or her. 

  1. Second, digital inheritance services also have secure vault functionality, which enables people to securely store encrypted information about how to access their digital assets

Digital inheritance services enable people to provide their beneficiaries with access details for the assigned digital assets. 

That’s also very important because this way, your loved ones will know not only what the assets are and where they are but also how to access them. 

  1. And the third benefit of digital inheritance services is that they enable people to easily update their asset catalogues. This is usually achieved through web or mobile applications, and the update of the catalogue is a matter of a few easy clicks. 

Are digital inheritance services the answer to the global problem of unclaimed and abandoned assets? 

It seems so. Only the future will tell. Meanwhile, it’s better to take the future of our legacy in our hands and employ a digital inheritance service to protect our assets in the digital world

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SHARE
Editorial Team
Editorial team of DGLegacy - digital inheritance and asset protection. If you have any interesting story to share, please reach out at editors@dglegacy.com.