Estate Planning for Your Digital Assets
When making an estate plan, many contemplate how to allocate their physical possessions, but most do not consider their digital assets. As the world is increasingly digitalized from online banking to social media, managing your digital assets in your estate plan can help preserve their monetary and sentimental value, mitigate the risk of electronic theft, and avoid complications for your loved ones.
All the information in your emails, blogs, websites, social media, and cryptocurrency are considered a part of your digital assets. To be safe, consulting an estate planning advisor can help you understand your state’s laws and your digital platforms’ Terms of Service Agreements (TOSA). The TOSA is the contract you agree to when first setting up an account and may indicate that in the circumstance of your death your account can’t be transferred to another person.
The order of how to handle digital assets of the deceased is found in a state’s version of the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA). The first step is checking if a service provider has a transfer system for beneficiaries, the second is reviewing legal documents, and the third is checking the terms of the TOSA. In any case, having a plan laid out is preferable to leaving your legacy to chance. In some unfortunate but common cases, accounts with stored credit card, billing, and identity information may be subject to post-mortem theft by hackers.
Additionally, with individuals continually creating new accounts and changing passwords, you must make sure your information is as current as possible. Estate planning advisors can assist their clients in making these updates by setting up a system for tracking passwords and accounts. Without your correct passwords, a beneficiary will lose access to essential data and be unable to delete unnecessary accounts. Digging for digital information is a lot harder than digging through someone’s attic for physical assets, making tracking your online activity very important.
Though your options are virtually limitless, proper estate planning -deciding on the “who, what, when, and how” and executing this with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees and court costs possible can be a challenging and emotional affair to wrestle with alone. For more information, contact Talley LLP today.