How Digital Assets Are Changing Your Atlanta Estate Planning Strategies

Digital assets are changing how individuals and families approach estate planning strategies, including wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. This blog introduces digital assets, what they are, strategies for administration and distribution, and considerations for Atlanta residents, incorporating them into estate planning.
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Written by:Tim J. Wooten

Attorney at Law

Tim has 20 years of practice experience and has wide experience with federal and state courts throughout the country in insurance coverage, insurance defense, complex litigation, construction and design, product liability, breach of contract, federal tax controversy and disputes before the IRS and U.S. Tax Court, settlements and probate, and multi-jurisdictional litigation.
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Today’s Atlanta estate planning has evolved. Comprehensive plans now include aging-related strategies, address changing tax laws, and accommodate digital assets. Individuals have a right or interest in digital assets or electronic records as personal accounts or investments. Social media accounts are personal electronic records, while bitcoins and crypto currency are investments, as explained in a recent article from Wealth Management, “Planning for Digital Assets 101.” 

As individuals and families build wealth beyond traditional investments and retirement savings, estate planning attorneys are helping them craft plans to administer and distribute digital assets. Another consideration is what to do with online social media accounts, which, surprising or not, is a common question once a loved one has passed. This blog introduces digital assets, what they are, strategies for administration and distribution, and considerations for Atlanta residents, incorporating them into estate planning.

What Are Digital Assets: Sentimental and Investment

Sentimental digital assets, such as photos, videos, and social media accounts, are emotional. They are a communication channel for a loved one’s friends and community. Some platforms allow settings to name a legacy contact—a list of accounts, usernames, and passwords that are helpful for family members to stay in communication or close the account. 

According to the IRS, investment assets are digital representations of value recorded on a cryptographically secure distributed ledger. Digital investment assets on blockchain technology include cryptocurrency, stablecoins, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs are relatively new digital collectible assets set apart as investments by a contract identifying the owner. An NFT, such as music or art, is purchased and sold like other investments.   

How Digital Assets Change Atlanta Estate Planning Strategies

Digital assets may require additional or more specific instructions and authorization. Estate planning tools such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney (POAs) help address digital asset challenges, including access, management, and distribution.

Whether drafting a will, trust, or POA, authority and access are most important. Work with an estate planning attorney so the legal document complies with state and federal law granting your “digital fiduciary” access as an authorized user on your digital accounts. A trust, will, or POA should include a detailed inventory of all accounts, the login “special key,” and possibly a flash drive as backup for your agent or trustee.

Individuals may draft a will, trust, or POA authorizing a different person to handle digital assets separate from their real estate or bank accounts. Specific conditions or limitations might be necessary to preserve the asset value. Finally, an individual may take special care in appointing someone who understands cryptocurrency for peace of mind if they become incapacitated. 

Digital Asset Storage Systems

Digital asset storage method influences how a trust or will is structured to facilitate distribution.

Beneficiary Access. The recipient of a gift or bequest of a digital asset must have access to the relevant storage device to access the actual investment. Sharing this information is risky, as access is inherently tied to value. Read our blog, Designating Your Beneficiary, for more.

Fiduciary Access. If only the owner had access, heirs would have no way to gain access to the digital assets when the owner died. Digital exchanges don’t allow users to name a contact to access the investment information upon death, and most exchanges don’t have centralized entities to record information. Access must be allowed to the heir to ensure the investment is recovered.

Transferring Digital Assets

Transferring digital assets requires providing access to beneficiaries and fiduciaries. There are several ways to structure such a transfer while minimizing the risk of theft or loss.

Digital assets can be transferred to a Limited Liability Company, and subject to certain limitations, retain control of the digital assets’ management by serving as LLC manager. Transferred LLC interests also provide a mechanism to discount the value of the transferred interest. In addition, LLCs can provide asset protection since, in most states, LLCs protect a member’s assets from an LLC’s liabilities. 

A directed trust is another way to transfer digital assets while maintaining control and decision-making with the owner. In some states, a directed trust can have an “investment trustee” or “investment trust director” to exclusively handle investment responsibilities, including managing and storing digital assets. Read our blog, “Estate Planning in Georgia With The Power of Family Trusts,” for more on trusts. 

Key Digital Assets and Atlanta Estate Planning Takeaways:

  • Digital Asset Groups: Digital assets can be divided into sentimental and investment digital assets.
  • Digital Wallets: The challenge of digital investment assets in estate planning centers on how they are owned and stored – hot wallets versus cold wallets.
  • Estate Planning Attorneys: A trusted estate planning attorney can help incorporate digital assets in your estate plan.


Atlanta estate planning that includes digital assets has unique challenges in deciding who will administer, manage, and distribute them. A will, trust, or POA should outline the accounts and passwords, authorize access, and clear distribution instructions. Whether creating or updating an estate plan, book a call with The Wooten Law Firm LLC in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Do you have questions about digital assets in your Atlanta estate plan? Book a Call

Reference: Wealth Management (Sep. 19, 2023) “Planning for Digital Assets 101” Read the article. 

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