Why are digital assets more likely to cause disputes?

On Behalf of | Aug 28, 2023 | Estates

Digital assets have ushered in a new era of complexities when it comes to estate planning. These assets seem to possess unique qualities that can make them more inclined to disputes among beneficiaries.

Common scenarios where a dispute may arise

To understand why digital assets are more likely to cause disputes, consider these three scenarios:

  • How do you figure out the actual value of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin?
  • Who should inherit an influencer’s Instagram account that has a substantial number of followers? This account generates income through sponsored posts.
  • Who should get revenue from a website with huge brand value and digital artwork receiving tons of royalties?

Given these examples, it is easy to see how digital assets can make them prone to triggering disputes during estate settlements.

What triggers conflict?

Its tangible nature makes it hard to figure out how much digital assets are worth. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Other things can spark disagreements when distributing these assets among beneficiaries:

  • Uncertainty in the legal landscape: Until now, the laws and regulations surrounding digital assets are still adapting to the digital age. We still do not have clear legal precedents for digital assets in various jurisdictions. We have not set up standardized rules yet.
  • Dissolving boundaries: There are no geographical boundaries in the digital world. Because of this, disputes can arise when beneficiaries live in different locations. There might be disagreements over which legal framework should govern the distribution of these assets.
  • Privacy, security and emotional attachments: Privacy and security concerns linked to digital assets can aggravate disputes. Any emotional and sentimental value associated with these assets can intensify conflicts. Think of how family members may attach personal significance to these items.

Things can get more complicated when estate conflicts arise over digital asset distribution. Resolving such disputes requires a deep understanding of the intricacies of estate law and digital property.

Dealing with estate litigation

Seeking legal counsel from an attorney can help interpret your estate plan and clarify ownership rights. Exploring alternatives, such as negotiation or mediation, can also help reach a resolution that respects the wishes of the deceased. This option can also minimize emotional and financial strain.

Remember that addressing these matters promptly and with professional guidance can lead to a smoother resolution and a less burdensome process for all parties involved.