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Digital assets in an estate plan

Like most states, Nevada has a law in place that allows executors to manage digital assets just as they would manage more traditional assets, but people who are creating an estate plan with digital assets still have to make the right legal and technical arrangements.

First, people need to make sure their heirs can access digital assets. Passphrases, PINs and other information they will need can simply be written down on a piece of paper. This list can be stored somewhere in the home or in a safety deposit box. Paper may be safer than a USB drive or other technological solution that could fail. Regular traders in cryptocurrency may need to update information as often as weekly, but more casual traders may be able to do so annually. One challenge that executors may face is needing to quickly sell cryptocurrency because it is such a volatile asset. Holding onto it for too long could lead to accusations from family members that the estate is being mismanaged.

The Uniform Law Commission creates model statutes including the one that most states used when writing their laws regarding estates and digital assets. They are also working on one that will permit a person to use an electronic signature on a last will and testament.

There are other elements of digital assets people may want to consider. For example, different websites have different terms of service regarding who may access the accounts. Some digital assets may be of little or no value but have sentimental value such as photographs. This is true for nondigital items as well, and people may want to include these in the will. An attorney may be able to assist a person with creating a will and other documents, such as powers of attorney in case the person becomes incapacitated.

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