The Rise of Digital Assets and the Need for Estate Planning Lawyers

Prepare and protect
your legacy.

The future of your legacy starts here:

    The Rise of Digital Assets and the Need for Estate Planning Lawyers

    The Rise of Digital Assets and the Need for Estate Planning Lawyers

    • St. Petersburg Estate Planning and Probate Attorney has over six decades of experience helping people secure their legacy. We have a proven track record of success for our clients. Our law firm has been around for a long time because we get great results and don’t take advantage of people. 
    • Our lawyers have achieved a 10.0 AVVO rating, the highest possible score, this signifies our attorneys’ substantial experience and successful track record. This rating considers various factors, including years of practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements, and peer endorsements. Attorneys with a history of winning complex, high-stakes cases are more likely to achieve this rating, which serves as a benchmark of excellence and reliability in the legal profession.
    • Many of our  lawyers have been selected to be on the Florida Super Lawyers 2024 list. Super Lawyers is an exclusive list that honors less than 5 percent of attorneys in the entire state of Florida. Super Lawyers is a research-driven and peer-conducted rating system that is part of Thomson Reuters. Only the most outstanding lawyers with substantial professional achievement are chosen by their peers to represent Super Lawyers. With their patented multiphase selection process, this honor reinforces our lawyers’ high standings both with the clients we work with and the legal community as a whole.
    • Our firm has been recognized as ‘Best Law Firm’ and ‘Best Estate Law’ by the Tampa Bay Times’ Best of the Best People’s Choice Award. Our firm has been the recipient of the Tampa Bay Times’ Best of the Best People’s Choice Award consecutively over the last five years. This award is a community voting based contest that chooses the best businesses, companies and services in Tampa Bay. Every year, the Tampa community members cast over 135,000 votes to choose the top businesses in the area. We are honored to have our efforts in Estate Planning law be recognized by the people of Tampa Bay.

    St. Petersburg Estate Planning and Probate Attorney stands out due to our commitment to client success and our extensive expertise in estate planning law. Our attorneys have consistently secured favorable outcomes for clients, earning reputations for diligence, compassion, and legal acumen. Simply put, they are the toughest around, but also fair.  Our firm is dedicated to providing personalized service, ensuring that each client receives the attention and support they deserve throughout their legal journey. You can count on our Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to have your back.


    In the world of modern finance, digital assets have become crucial elements, combining with traditional wealth to create a complex image of personal estate. Their importance in today’s society is undeniable, ranging from cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to digital rights and virtual properties that exist only on the internet. These assets are more than just new and interesting things; they represent significant financial and emotional investments for people all over the world.

    Understanding the true value of these digital possessions requires a fresh look at traditional estate planning methods. The role of a St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer becomes even more important as they help navigate this new territory. Creating a thorough estate plan in the digital age ensures not just the protection and planned transfer of physical assets but also guarantees the future of one’s digital legacy. This job requires careful strategy and foresight, dealing with the complexities that digital assets bring—including issues with access after death, changing laws, and technological advancements.

    The Significance of Including Digital Assets in Estate Plans

    Estate planning has traditionally focused on tangible assets; however, digital assets are increasingly becoming integral to a person’s net worth. These assets encompass a wide array of online properties:

    • Cryptocurrencies: Digital or virtual currencies using cryptography for security
    • Social Media Accounts: Profiles and content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
    • Intellectual Property Online: Copyrighted digital content such as ebooks, music, and videos

    Incorporating digital assets into estate plans is vital for several reasons:

    1. Ensuring Inheritance

    • Neglecting to include digital assets can lead to their loss or mismanagement after one’s passing.
    • Proactive measures ensure these assets are identified and transferred according to the individual’s wishes.

    2. Preserving Your Digital Legacy

    • Digital items often hold sentimental value similar to physical heirlooms.
    • Bequeathing such items ensures they continue to be appreciated by future generations.

    3. Facilitating Financial Matters

    • Access to online accounts is essential for managing financial affairs efficiently.
    • Essential for executors tasked with settling debts, closing accounts, or distributing assets according to the estate plan.

    By recognizing the worth of digital holdings within an estate plan, individuals ensure comprehensive management of their entire wealth portfolio.

    Overcoming Challenges in Accessing Digital Assets After Death

    Beneficiaries and executors often face several obstacles when trying to take control of a deceased person’s digital assets. These challenges include:

    1. Lack of Information: Without proper documentation, finding digital assets can be almost impossible. Executors may not even know about the existence or extent of online accounts and digital possessions.

    2. Legal Barriers: Online platforms have their own user agreements which usually do not include provisions for accessing accounts after death, leaving executors without clear legal rights to view the contents.

    3. Technical Difficulties: Even if they are aware of the assets, retrieving them can be hindered by encryption, forgotten passwords, or security features meant to prevent unauthorized access.

    The complexities of data privacy laws add another layer of difficulty. Rules like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) prioritize user privacy, potentially conflicting with estate plans that don’t address these regulations. These laws may limit access to digital content, making it crucial for estate plans to explicitly consider and navigate these privacy concerns.

    Dealing with these challenges requires a combination of technical knowledge and legal expertise. Executors must find a balance between respecting privacy laws and fulfilling their responsibilities as trustees, ensuring that they handle digital assets as effectively as physical ones. This balancing act highlights the need for a modern approach to estate planning that includes digital asset considerations from the beginning.

    Incorporating Digital Assets into Your Estate Plan: Key Steps to Take

    As the digital landscape expands, addressing digital assets in estate plans becomes not just a consideration but a necessity. Here are key steps to ensure your digital assets are effectively integrated into your estate plan:

    1. Creating an Inventory of Your Digital Holdings

    To maintain control over your digital assets after your passing, start by compiling a comprehensive inventory. This should include:

    • Login Credentials: Usernames, passwords, and security questions for each digital account.
    • Instructions for Management: Specific directions on how each asset should be handled, whether that’s deletion, archiving, or transferring ownership.
    • Valuation: An assessment of the financial value of each asset, which is particularly important for items such as cryptocurrency holdings or revenue-generating websites.

    Remember to update this inventory regularly as you acquire new digital assets or change existing account details.

    2. Ensuring Secure Storage and Controlled Access for Your Digital Estate

    Secure storage of your digital information is crucial. Consider these best practices:

    • Use Password Managers: A secure password manager can store your login information and share access with designated individuals upon your death.
    • Employ Encryption: Protect sensitive documents with encryption, ensuring that only those with the decryption key can access them.
    • Legal Documentation: Include language in your estate planning documents granting fiduciaries the right to manage your digital assets.

    3. Updating Your Estate Planning Documents to Reflect Digital Asset Inclusion

    Your wills, trusts, and power of attorney documents should clearly articulate instructions regarding your digital assets:

    • Wills and Trusts: Specify which digital assets go to which beneficiaries and include any special instructions for their management.
    • Power of Attorney: Assign someone the authority to manage your digital assets if you become incapacitated.

    Ensure that these documents align with current laws and platform-specific terms of service.

    4. Staying Abreast of Evolving Laws and Technological Changes

    The legal and technological environment around digital assets is ever-changing. To remain compliant and relevant:

    • Regular Reviews: Schedule annual reviews of your estate plan to incorporate changes in laws and technology.
    • Professional Advice: Work closely with a St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer who stays informed about the latest developments in digital asset management.

    By following these steps diligently, you can ensure that all aspects of your estate—including valuable and sentimental digital assets—are preserved and passed on according to your wishes.

    Other Considerations for Managing Your Digital Footprint

    When it comes to protecting your digital legacy, safeguarding essential documents should be at the forefront of your strategy. Beyond merely including digital assets in your estate plan, ensuring their longevity and accessibility is key.

    The Importance of Creating Digital Copies for Important Paperwork

    Physical documents are vulnerable to a variety of risks including natural disasters, theft, or simple wear and tear over time. To mitigate these risks:

    • Scan critical paperwork such as deeds, wills, insurance policies, and personal identification.
    • Store electronic versions securely in locations that a fiduciary can access if necessary.
    • Use formats that are widely accepted and can be easily opened or converted, like PDFs.

    Digital copies not only secure the information contained in these important documents but also simplify the process for executors or beneficiaries who may need to access this information promptly.

    Diversifying Your Backup Strategies for Redundancy

    To ensure comprehensive protection of your digital assets, consider implementing a combination of backup methods:

    • Cloud-Based Storage: Offers off-site storage that is generally immune to local catastrophes.
    • Select trusted providers with strong security measures.
    • Understand the terms of service regarding data ownership and accessibility after the account holder’s death.
    • Local Storage Solutions: Such as external hard drives or USB flash drives.
    • Keep them in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box.
    • Update them regularly alongside your cloud backups.

    By using both cloud-based and local storage options, you create a safety net that guards against single points of failure.

    Exploring Specialized Tools for Data Preservation

    In addition to general backup strategies, specific platforms provide tools tailored for preserving digital information:

    • Facebook’s One-Click Download Feature:
    • Allows users to download a copy of their Facebook data including photos, contacts, and posts.
    • Useful for capturing the social aspect of one’s digital footprint.
    • FidSafe®’s Secure Vault:
    • A platform designed to store important documents safely online.
    • Provides features such as designated sharers who can access the vault upon certain conditions being met.

    Platforms like these often have built-in security features that help maintain privacy while still allowing for posthumous access when appropriately authorized.

    By considering these additional steps for managing your digital assets, you not only enhance the security of sensitive information but also facilitate a smoother transition during estate administration. It’s crucial to integrate these practices into your regular estate planning review process to ensure they evolve with technological advancements and remain effective for future use.

    Facilitating Access to Your Digital Assets Through Legal Means

    Digital assets represent a new frontier in estate planning, requiring new approaches to ensure authorized access after death. One critical step is granting explicit consent and authority in your estate plan.

    Granting Explicit Consent and Authority

    To facilitate seamless transition of your digital holdings, it’s essential to include an explicit authorization in your estate plan for fiduciaries. This consent enables them to manage your digital assets on behalf of your estate after you’re gone. It could be as straightforward as detailing the extent of control these fiduciaries have over various digital properties like email accounts, social media profiles, or cryptocurrency wallets.

    The Role of Estate Planning Lawyers

    Estate planning lawyers play an instrumental role in this digital shift. They can help navigate the complexities of digital asset inheritance, ensuring compliance with applicable terms of service for different online platforms. These legal professionals could assist in crafting clear language that outlines the scope and limitations of a fiduciary’s power over your digital assets. Their expertise is invaluable in addressing potential legal hurdles that might arise during the process.

    This proactive approach to authorizing access to your digital assets will contribute significantly to preserving your digital legacy and ensuring a smooth handover of these valuable properties.


    The digital era brings a new dimension to estate planning. With the rise of digital assets, it becomes imperative to include them in your estate plans. Not only can these assets hold significant monetary value, but they also form an essential part of your digital legacy. From cryptocurrencies and online accounts to intellectual property, these assets require careful consideration in your estate planning process.

    Unforeseen challenges may arise when beneficiaries or executors attempt to retrieve digital assets after your demise. Data privacy laws and terms of service agreements further complicate the matter. But with thoughtful planning and proper documentation, you can ensure a smooth transition of your digital assets to your chosen heirs.

    Your digital footprint is vast and diverse, which necessitates various strategies for management and preservation. Creating digital copies of important documents, diversifying backup strategies, and utilizing specialized data preservation tools are all part of this process.

    However, navigating the complexities of incorporating digital assets into your estate plan can be daunting. Hence, engaging a St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer who understands the intricacies of digital asset inheritance ensures that you comply with the applicable terms of service. They can also help you stay updated with evolving laws and technological changes.

    Contact a Florida Estate Planning Attorney Today

    If you’re looking to protect your digital assets and online wealth, then our St. Petersburg estate planning attorneys can guide you through the process.

    Free Consultations

    Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. is U.S. News and World Reports Tier 1 law firm in Florida, specializing in Estate Planning & Probate since 1958. With award-winning experienced estate planning attorneys, they can help you create a will to avoid complications for your family after your death.

    Schedule a free consultation today to get started.

    How Can We Help?

    Our experienced Estate Planning & Probate Attorneys are available to answer any questions you might have. 

    Tampa Bay Times

    Best of the Best
    People's Choice
    2019, 2020 & 2021

    Our Dedicated Team of

    A Divison of Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

    We handle all types of
    Estate Planning & Probate Attorney