Digital assets are rapidly becoming a very important part of estates, for both financial and sentimental reasons.
Let’s take a quick inventory. How often do you: Take a photo with your smart phone? Purchase something on Amazon or PayPal? Watch programming through Netflix or Hulu? Listen to music on Spotify or through iTunes? Accumulate airline miles or credit card points? Post to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter?
These activities represent a part of your digital life and need to be considered in your estate plan. Proactive planning can help you preserve your legacy in its digital form.
Many states, including Illinois, Florida, California, New York and Texas, have recently adopted a version of the Revised Uniform fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA). This act allows the owner of digital property to give fiduciaries (think “trustee
” or “executor”) access to and the ability to manage your digital property to the same extent as financial property. (caveat: each state has the ability to adopt RUFADAA in the way they see fit and so the law may differ slightly from state to state…talk to your attorney about it)
One of the bigger challenges facing individuals with a digital life (pretty much all of us) is that the Terms of Agreement for many providers are not friendly to the user. While RUFADAA can help cross some of those hurdles, challenges still remain. We thought…what tips can we give you to navigate this aspect of your estate plan?
5 Tips for Digital Asset Planning
- Create an inventory.
- Consider all financial, purchasing, and social accounts. Include login ID’s and passwords.
- If you have airli
- ne miles or credit card points, contact the issuers directly—often their policy (no transfers on death) is different than their actions (they actually transfer).
- DO NOT list usernames or passwords in your will.
- If someone has passed away, close down accounts no longer needed to help protect family from identity theft.
- Start the conversation with your wealth manager and estate planning attorney.
- How do you want your online life handled when you pass away? For example, identify a “legacy contact” for Facebook or “trusted contacts” for Google.
- Back up digital assets in the cloud to a local computer or device on a frequent basis.
- This creates easy access for family & fiduciaries.
- Understand the value of your digital assets.
- The ability to use (buying music on iTunes, for example) is different than running a blog or website that might drive small business income.
- Update your estate planning documents accordingly.
Our best suggestion? Connect with your wealth manager and estate planning attorney to start the discussion. You will be glad you did.