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Estate Planning for Digital Assets, Tips for Teaching Children Financial Literacy

You may have decided who inherits Grandma's favorite vase at your death, but have you determined who gets your pictures on Shutterfly? Today, almost everyone has a digital presence—email accounts, online banking accounts, frequent-flyer miles, shopping accounts, blogs, and, even, residential security systems. Including these digital assets in your estate plan is essential to ensure that the assets are disseminated according to your wishes.

South Carolina passed legislation on June 13, 2016, that offers a guide for fiduciaries to access the digital assets of incapacitated or deceased family members. The act—the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act [ UFADAA ]-outlines a process for fiduciaries, including a court-appointed conservator, an agent under power of attorney, or a personal representative of an estate (or a trustee), to access these accounts. This law provides a basis for a fiduciary to handle online accounts and digital assets; however, the best plan for managing these assets is to outline in your estate plan how you wish your digital assets to be disseminated.

What are digital assets?

Digital assets include any electronic records in which an individual has a right or interest. These assets include items with monetary value like hotel points, domain names, and virtual assets as well as items with sentimental value including photographs, email correspondences, and social network accounts.

Most websites have a Terms of Service Agreement [ TOSA ], which users consent to before enrolling in the site's services. The terms of service can be complicated when looking at estate implications. For example, Facebook allows you to determine whether or not you wish for your account to be terminated at your death or memorialized. Google has an inactive account manager that provides you with the option to designate contacts to be notified if your account is inactive for a certain time period.

Digital property can pose many impediments at your death since not all websites allow for access to your records at the time of your death. If the Terms of Service Agreement does not allow for access by someone other than the deceased, then the individual accessing the account may be in violation of federal and state anti-hacking laws—a criminal offense. It is crucial for you to address your digital assets in your estate documents and give a fiduciary the power to access these properties. Otherwise, some assets could be lost forever.

The following estate planning strategies can serve to protect and preserve your digital assets:

Compile a digital asset inventory

To proactively manage your digital assets, create an inventory of assets including usernames, passwords, and security questions. Update this list regularly as your usernames and passwords change. If maintaining this list seems overwhelming, you can simplify the process using a password manager service like LastPass. Then you have one username and password to maintain and communicate with your fiduciary. Many password managers also give you the option to name an Emergency Access contact who can request access to your account in the event of your incapacity and/or death.

Keep a written list of your digital inventory at home (or in a safety deposit box) with a copy at your estate attorney's office. Do not include your account information in your will as your will is filed publicly.

Maintain a back-up file of digital assets

If you store digital assets in the cloud, consider backing up these items on your local computer or other storage device. Having a back-up file will allow family members to easily access these items with few challenges.

Incorporate digital assets into your estate plan

Work with your estate attorney to address digital property upon your incapacity and/or at your death.Your attorney can add suitable language to your durable power of attorney to name individuals who can control your digital assets upon your incapacity. Your attorney should include similar provisions in your will or revocable trust to appoint a fiduciary. Adding these features to your estate plan will make the administration process and recovery of digital assets as easy as possible.

Detail who inherits your digital assets

Some of your digital property like hotel points, virtual assets, or intellectual property may have monetary value. You may wish to instruct your fiduciary to handle those assets in a particular way. In addition, you may want your children to inherit the pictures in your Walgreens photo account, and your husband to retain all the emails you wrote to family members and destroy the remaining emails. You can leave specific instructions like these in your estate documents.

In the future, the majority of our transactions and communications will occur online. Planning ahead to ensure access to your accounts during incapacity (and at death) can save additional headaches for your loved ones, which can make a difficult time a little easier.

Tags: Published Articles

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Estate Planning for Digital Assets, Tips for Teaching Children Financial Literacy

You may have decided who inherits Grandma's favorite vase at your death, but have you determined who gets your pictures on Shutterfly? Today, almost everyone has a digital presence—email accounts, online banking accounts, frequent-flyer miles, shopping accounts, blogs, and, even, residential security systems. Including these digital assets in your estate plan is essential to ensure that the assets are disseminated according to your wishes.

South Carolina passed legislation on June 13, 2016, that offers a guide for fiduciaries to access the digital assets of incapacitated or deceased family members. The act—the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act [ UFADAA ]-outlines a process for fiduciaries, including a court-appointed conservator, an agent under power of attorney, or a personal representative of an estate (or a trustee), to access these accounts. This law provides a basis for a fiduciary to handle online accounts and digital assets; however, the best plan for managing these assets is to outline in your estate plan how you wish your digital assets to be disseminated.

What are digital assets?

Digital assets include any electronic records in which an individual has a right or interest. These assets include items with monetary value like hotel points, domain names, and virtual assets as well as items with sentimental value including photographs, email correspondences, and social network accounts.

Most websites have a Terms of Service Agreement [ TOSA ], which users consent to before enrolling in the site's services. The terms of service can be complicated when looking at estate implications. For example, Facebook allows you to determine whether or not you wish for your account to be terminated at your death or memorialized. Google has an inactive account manager that provides you with the option to designate contacts to be notified if your account is inactive for a certain time period.

Digital property can pose many impediments at your death since not all websites allow for access to your records at the time of your death. If the Terms of Service Agreement does not allow for access by someone other than the deceased, then the individual accessing the account may be in violation of federal and state anti-hacking laws—a criminal offense. It is crucial for you to address your digital assets in your estate documents and give a fiduciary the power to access these properties. Otherwise, some assets could be lost forever.

The following estate planning strategies can serve to protect and preserve your digital assets:

Compile a digital asset inventory

To proactively manage your digital assets, create an inventory of assets including usernames, passwords, and security questions. Update this list regularly as your usernames and passwords change. If maintaining this list seems overwhelming, you can simplify the process using a password manager service like LastPass. Then you have one username and password to maintain and communicate with your fiduciary. Many password managers also give you the option to name an Emergency Access contact who can request access to your account in the event of your incapacity and/or death.

Keep a written list of your digital inventory at home (or in a safety deposit box) with a copy at your estate attorney's office. Do not include your account information in your will as your will is filed publicly.

Maintain a back-up file of digital assets

If you store digital assets in the cloud, consider backing up these items on your local computer or other storage device. Having a back-up file will allow family members to easily access these items with few challenges.

Incorporate digital assets into your estate plan

Work with your estate attorney to address digital property upon your incapacity and/or at your death.Your attorney can add suitable language to your durable power of attorney to name individuals who can control your digital assets upon your incapacity. Your attorney should include similar provisions in your will or revocable trust to appoint a fiduciary. Adding these features to your estate plan will make the administration process and recovery of digital assets as easy as possible.

Detail who inherits your digital assets

Some of your digital property like hotel points, virtual assets, or intellectual property may have monetary value. You may wish to instruct your fiduciary to handle those assets in a particular way. In addition, you may want your children to inherit the pictures in your Walgreens photo account, and your husband to retain all the emails you wrote to family members and destroy the remaining emails. You can leave specific instructions like these in your estate documents.

In the future, the majority of our transactions and communications will occur online. Planning ahead to ensure access to your accounts during incapacity (and at death) can save additional headaches for your loved ones, which can make a difficult time a little easier.

Tags: Published Articles

FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Estate Planning for Digital Assets, Tips for Teaching Children Financial Literacy

You may have decided who inherits Grandma's favorite vase at your death, but have you determined who gets your pictures on Shutterfly? Today, almost everyone has a digital presence—email accounts, online banking accounts, frequent-flyer miles, shopping accounts, blogs, and, even, residential security systems. Including these digital assets in your estate plan is essential to ensure that the assets are disseminated according to your wishes.

South Carolina passed legislation on June 13, 2016, that offers a guide for fiduciaries to access the digital assets of incapacitated or deceased family members. The act—the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act [ UFADAA ]-outlines a process for fiduciaries, including a court-appointed conservator, an agent under power of attorney, or a personal representative of an estate (or a trustee), to access these accounts. This law provides a basis for a fiduciary to handle online accounts and digital assets; however, the best plan for managing these assets is to outline in your estate plan how you wish your digital assets to be disseminated.

What are digital assets?

Digital assets include any electronic records in which an individual has a right or interest. These assets include items with monetary value like hotel points, domain names, and virtual assets as well as items with sentimental value including photographs, email correspondences, and social network accounts.

Most websites have a Terms of Service Agreement [ TOSA ], which users consent to before enrolling in the site's services. The terms of service can be complicated when looking at estate implications. For example, Facebook allows you to determine whether or not you wish for your account to be terminated at your death or memorialized. Google has an inactive account manager that provides you with the option to designate contacts to be notified if your account is inactive for a certain time period.

Digital property can pose many impediments at your death since not all websites allow for access to your records at the time of your death. If the Terms of Service Agreement does not allow for access by someone other than the deceased, then the individual accessing the account may be in violation of federal and state anti-hacking laws—a criminal offense. It is crucial for you to address your digital assets in your estate documents and give a fiduciary the power to access these properties. Otherwise, some assets could be lost forever.

The following estate planning strategies can serve to protect and preserve your digital assets:

Compile a digital asset inventory

To proactively manage your digital assets, create an inventory of assets including usernames, passwords, and security questions. Update this list regularly as your usernames and passwords change. If maintaining this list seems overwhelming, you can simplify the process using a password manager service like LastPass. Then you have one username and password to maintain and communicate with your fiduciary. Many password managers also give you the option to name an Emergency Access contact who can request access to your account in the event of your incapacity and/or death.

Keep a written list of your digital inventory at home (or in a safety deposit box) with a copy at your estate attorney's office. Do not include your account information in your will as your will is filed publicly.

Maintain a back-up file of digital assets

If you store digital assets in the cloud, consider backing up these items on your local computer or other storage device. Having a back-up file will allow family members to easily access these items with few challenges.

Incorporate digital assets into your estate plan

Work with your estate attorney to address digital property upon your incapacity and/or at your death.Your attorney can add suitable language to your durable power of attorney to name individuals who can control your digital assets upon your incapacity. Your attorney should include similar provisions in your will or revocable trust to appoint a fiduciary. Adding these features to your estate plan will make the administration process and recovery of digital assets as easy as possible.

Detail who inherits your digital assets

Some of your digital property like hotel points, virtual assets, or intellectual property may have monetary value. You may wish to instruct your fiduciary to handle those assets in a particular way. In addition, you may want your children to inherit the pictures in your Walgreens photo account, and your husband to retain all the emails you wrote to family members and destroy the remaining emails. You can leave specific instructions like these in your estate documents.

In the future, the majority of our transactions and communications will occur online. Planning ahead to ensure access to your accounts during incapacity (and at death) can save additional headaches for your loved ones, which can make a difficult time a little easier.

Tags: Published Articles

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