Etsy Stores Are on the Rise: How to Properly Protect Them in Your Estate Plan

You don’t need a physical retail location to run a thriving business. If your business involves making quality items by hand, you might have already found that Etsy is an ideal platform to sell online and ship your items all over the world.

If you have an Etsy store, it’s part of your legacy, and in order to ensure your loved ones have a clear picture of how to handle your assets after your passing, you should include your Etsy store in your estate plan.

The Logistics of Taking Over an Etsy Shop

Most people who run Etsy stores run them solo. After all, the platform only allows one set of user credentials to be used to control an account. With that said, if a seller passes away, they’ll need someone to handle the logistics of continuing to run (or close) the store. 

These are some of the things an heir or executor of an Etsy shop owner might need to do:

  • Turn on “Vacation Mode” to pause store operations
  • Refund customers whose orders can no longer be fulfilled
  • Pay seller subscription fees
  • Handle taxes
  • Edit product listings if needed
  • Package and ship outstanding orders 

Your estate plan should have provisions for who will handle store operations if you’re temporarily incapacitated (for example, if you suffer a medical event). However, any good estate plan will also clarify what should happen to your Etsy shop if you pass away.

Can you transfer an Etsy account to a loved one?

It may seem like you can simply arrange for your Etsy store to be transferred to a family member after your death. But the problem is that Etsy’s terms of service show that it’s much more complicated than that. The platform says that because of both legal regulations and security concerns, its terms of service prohibit account transfers.

Some people might be tempted to make a transfer anyway, but if you intend to keep the shop open, it’s not worth the risk. If Etsy suspects that a shop has been transferred to someone else, it may shut down the associated account.

Selling an Etsy Store

You can’t arrange for someone to simply take over your Etsy store after you pass. But there is a way to allow someone to continue your business after your death, even if it is somewhat complicated.

If you want to sell your Etsy shop or pass it on to a family member, the new owner must open a separate Etsy account and a new Etsy shop thereafter. They can continue to make and sell your shop’s products, just under another name. Etsy doesn’t allow sellers to reuse shop names, even if the original shop has since closed.

Can Etsy help?

Etsy does offer assistance to executors or any next of kin who have been left to handle your estate. If someone has been authorized to act on your behalf, Etsy can help them close your account.

That being said, you shouldn’t count on Etsy alone to help your loved ones handle your shop after your death. An estate plan is essential if you want to make sure your account is handled the way you’d like it to be.

Need help with digital estate planning?

We live in a digital world, and that means digital estate planning isn’t something you should neglect. At OC Wills & Trust Attorneys in Orange County, we have been helping people like you achieve peace of mind since 2008. Whether you need to add an Etsy store to your existing estate plan or need to create your estate plan for the first time, reach out to us to set up a consultation today.