As the pandemic rolls on across the globe, more than 11 million people are playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch. The game has been around for nearly 20 years, but it’s exploded in popularity during coronavirus lockdowns. What does this have to do with protecting your digital afterlife?
Estate planning lawyers are paying attention to the dramatic changes that have occurred in our lives as a direct result of the pandemic. The generation that grew up playing Super Mario Brothers is now playing RPG (Role-Playing Games) with communities that include people they know IRL (In Real Life) and communities of players they meet online. And millennials aren’t the only ones playing these video games. Serious gamers now include Boomers, Gen Zs and people who spend a large amount of time and invest real money in the games.
People build entire worlds in these games, and yet, just like IRL, they don’t have a plan for what will happen when they die. Most people say that having a will is important, but nearly half of Americans over 55 don’t have a will. And fewer still have any kind of plan for their digital assets. With all that we now do online and through our mobile apps, it easy for valuable assets and information leading to property to become lost.
When we came across this blog post, How to Provide for Your Island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons After Your Death: Part II from All About Estates, we practically spilled our turnips! Author Demetre Vasiolounis understands that digital assets bring surprises. All About Estates is a collaborative blog that provides information from a variety of sources in the estate planning world. Animal Crossing is something a lot of folks can relate to, even if they don’t want to put their Animal Crossing world into a trust. But in the Virtual World, there are still things to consider after you have passed. Who is going to be in charge of your island? Who is going to take care of keeping your village in turnips?
Vasiolounis goes on to explain how trusts, estates, charitable trusts and other estate planning methods can work, including how taxes and cryptocurrency laws impact the Bells (currency of Animal Crossing). There’s a lot to know about how virtual worlds, cryptocurrency and estate planning intersect. Estate Planning lawyers, the world now includes a virtual world, and that includes digital assets.