Why do we need asset protection?
Many people nowadays have complex and diverse assets, which in addition often reside in multiple countries.
The interesting thing is that many people don’t even realize that. It’s only when you start thinking about it, you figure out their number:
- you have a bank account here,
- second pension fund there,
- real estate,
- few insurance policies (how many of us remember that even the credit cards come with an insurance policy),
- people working in tech companies often receive equity in the form of RSUs or stock options residing in different equity management or electronic trading platforms,
- company stocks or shares in a business,
- digital wallets with money,
- loyalty points or cryptocurrencies…
Even for people who think they don’t have many assets it’s quite common to end up with more than 10 important digital and financial assets.
While keeping track of all these assets is quite challenging, there is one way bigger risk related to them. If it’s so difficult for us to even remember all of our assets and keep track of them, what about our family members?
If something happens to us, would they be able to locate and identify these assets, and ultimately claim their rightful ownership? Would they even be aware of the very existence of these assets?
Unfortunately the statistics reveal the magnitude of the problem. The so-called unclaimed assets are reaching $100B in the USA alone. You might think that this is a problem related primarily to the US, but unfortunately that’s not the case. The amount of unclaimed assets in the UK is £77B!
While there is no reliable global statistic for all countries, judging only from the few countries for which we do have data, we can certainly say that we are talking about a trillion-dollar global problem.
These are people’s money, which stay in banks, insurance companies, online trading platforms, equity management systems and digital wallets, instead of reaching the rightful owners.
Those are just the official statistics. Unfortunately behind them lie many dramatic personal stories. Stories of years of struggle to identify the assets of a loved one, stories of drastically changed standards of living due to an inability to locate assets, stories of desperate family members who are not even aware of the very existence of the assets of their loved one.
Asset protection is the method which helps hedge against that risk and ensure our loved ones will be aware of our digital and financial assets, know how to identify and locate them, and will receive support in the process of claiming.
And the best part is that this is quite easy to be achieved. Let’s see how.
Protecting your digital and financial assets
Digital inheritance services offer a very good protection for digital and financial assets. They detect unforeseen events with the users through email and phone check-ups. Some even offer integration with preferred social media platforms to detect “alive” activities there, such as posts, shares and likes.
Users can designate beneficiaries for each of their assets, and when the digital inheritance service detects an unforeseen event, the beneficiaries are automatically informed about the designated assets.
Many of the services also offer phone notification in addition to email,ensuring to a maximum extent that family members are informed about the assigned assets and accounts.
Some even offer additional support, such as legal, tax advisory and etc., which can be very useful in case of complex or cross-country assets. These cases are complex in terms of inheritance legislation and tax implications, not to mention the language barriers, so legal support is very helpful for them.
Other Ways to Protect Your Assets
The most obvious question which you might have is can I make a normal will.
The simple answer is – of course you can, but the will won’t protect your assets simply because it assumes a static assets catalog. You create your will, but only 5 years later you realize that you have many new assets and as a result your will is outdated.
In addition to that, of course having a paper somewhere in a drawer won’t help your family members if they don’t know how to find it. Wills were useful 50 years ago, when people mostly lived together and had static catalogs. They are however not a good fit for today’s modern world, where people have complex and dynamically changing digital and financial assets, often in multiple countries.
Also keeping information about your assets on a computer, in a shared file or a paper is equally inefficient. Even if you share the details with your family, what are the chances that they will remember the access details after 30 years? Not to mention the risk of theft or damage.
What are the critical risks covered?
The primary risks which are covered when using digital inheritance service are:
Your family members not aware of your digital and financial assets
Digital inheritance services detect unforeseen events and proactively inform your family members. This eliminates the risk that they won’t be aware of your assets.
Many of the services inform the family members not only with email, but with phone calls. This eliminates the risk that they won’t see the email, will disregard it or miss it if it goes in their spam folder.
Your family members not knowing where to locate your assets
Digital inheritance services provide the necessary information to your loved ones, which enables them to not only be aware of the very existence of your assets, but also to identify and locate them.
This saves a lot of headaches for the loved ones, in this already very stressful period of their lives.
Your family members not knowing how to claim the assets
As previously mentioned, digital inheritance services often provide additional support in the process of claiming – such as legal and tax advisory. This can be very useful when the assets are complex or in different countries. Imagine for example the case with a US citizen who lives in Germany and uses a UK online trading platform.
Simply informing the family members about the existence of the account won’t be very helpful, especially if they are not financially proficient. This case might be complex from both the perspective of inheritance and tax legislation.
In these cases, the additional packages of the digital inheritance services provide great help for the family membersin the process of claiming the assets