Estate Planning in the Digital Age

34 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2012 Last revised: 26 Apr 2013

Gerry W. Beyer

Texas Tech University School of Law

Date Written: April 21, 2013


Recently, a new subdivision of property has emerged that many people label as “digital assets” such as accounts used for e-mail, professional and personal data backups, banking, investment, and shopping, domain names and web-hosting accounts, social networking accounts, and avatars for online games. While estate planners have perfected techniques to transfer traditional types of property, many estate planners do not address digital assets when preparing their clients’ estates.

This article aims to educate estate planning professionals on the importance of planning for the disposition of digital assets, provides those planning techniques, and discusses how to administer an estate containing digital assets. The appendix contains a sample form which may be used to organize digital assets.

Keywords: digital assets, digital estate, estate planning, wills, trusts, passwords, fiduciary

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Beyer, Gerry W., Estate Planning in the Digital Age (April 21, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Gerry W. Beyer (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University School of Law ( email )

1802 Hartford
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States
806-834-4270 (Phone)
978-285-7941 (Fax)


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