Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Digital Assets in Estate Planning: Cybersecurity Concerns and Considerations

Digital assetsMany estate planning clients have moved into the digital asset realm. Digital assets are typically stored online in electronic format. 

"Most clients preserve digital assets either for their sentimental value or their financial value. Examples of digital assets which are preserved for their sentimental value include digital photos, music, movies, eBooks, information and documents stored on cloud accounts, subscriptions, smart-phone applications as well as data stored on these applications, and social media accounts."

Digital assets that are held for financial value are typically in the form of cryptocurrencies and investment accounts. Other examples are income-generating websites or blogs and digital copyrights or trademarks. 

Given the increase in digital assets, the threat of cybercrime is more prevalent. "For instance, recently in New York, a couple unintentionally wired a $1.9 million down paymentfor a business to cybercriminals who had hacked into the couple’s email account, learned of the transaction, and created fake wire transfer instructions. A 2019 survey conducted by Morgan Stanley revealed that cybersecurity risk is one of the major concerns for high net worth individuals."

Estate planning attorneys can help clients navigate the laws governing digital assets and advise them in taking proactive stets to protect their digital assets. 

See Philip N. Yannella & Priscilla G. Osei-Bonsu, Digital Assets in Estate Planning: Cybersecurity Concerns and Considerations, Ballard Spahr LLP, September 14, 2020. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink


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