19th July 2021 - 3 min read
Digital assets will increasingly find their way into inheritance plans over the next few years, said estate planning group Rockwills International Bhd. This comes as people are acquiring more digital assets and investing in cryptocurrencies.
Rockwills Group CEO Azhar Iskandar Hew explained that digital assets are a collection of binary data rather than actual physical objects. These include things that are created, stored, and recorded in the form of digital devices or online services – such as websites, social media sites, emails, cloud services, mobile phones, laptops, hard drives, and computers.
“The most well-known digital asset is digital currency. Other digital assets of monetary value are e-wallets, e-commerce accounts, internet domain names, online storage such as Google Drive and Dropbox,” he said in an interview with SunBiz. “For creative professionals, their works such as photography and artwork that are stored digitally in various online platforms and the royalty generated from their accounts are digital assets.”
Currently, digital assets and digital legacy tend to be neglected by many Malaysians in their estate plans – resulting in the potential loss of valuable assets and information as well as money and time spent to track these down. However, Hew said that clients have been including digital assets in estate planning in the past few years.
“There are cases involving wills that include digital assets in one form or another but primarily they are cryptocurrencies which clients want to give away to their beneficiaries. For every 100 wills, there are two to three wills that include some sort of digital assets,” he revealed. Hew further added that the top three digital assets included in wills in Malaysia are cryptocurrencies, e-wallets, and electronic trading accounts.
However, Hew warned that gaining access to digital assets such as online trading accounts can be tricky. “The laws that govern digital assets vary from country to country, and online sites have wildly different terms and conditions that sometimes lock out executors,” he said. “Writing a will alone will not be sufficient as there are additional steps to be taken to retrieve digital information. It is impossible to recover digital assets without proper instructions on where to find the password.”
Therefore, people are advised to see that the preparation and execution of estate plans are done with lawyers or professional companies because it is a specialised area. “As digitalisation and its adoption continues, planning will become more important,” he concluded.
(Source: The Sun Daily)
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