Tim Alles

Jordan Bush

Chris Shourds

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Previous Newsletters

April 2021 Does My Estate Plan Have An Elephant In The Room? (Part I)

March 2021 How Can I "Trust" My Trustees?

February 2021 What Do Tiger Woods' Tweets, and Your Social Media Content Have to Do with Estate Planning? (Part II)

January 2021 What Do Tiger Woods' Tweets, and Your Social Media Content Have to Do with Estate Planning? (Part I)

December 2020 What Are Estate Taxes And Why Do They Matter?

November 2020 What Life Events Should Trigger an Estate Plan Review?

October 2020 My Child Is A Spendthrift. What Can I Do To Protect Their Inheritance?

September 2020 What Is the Difference Between Estate Planning and Elder Law?

August 2020 Estate Planning After a Divorce - What Does It Mean for Your Estate Plan?

July 2020 What Should You Expect From Your Trustee?

June 2020 Should You Pass Your Assets Through A Trust Or A Will?

May 2020 Important Issues To Consider For Your Estate Plan

April 2020 Important Estate Planning Considerations During a Pandemic Crisis

What Do Tiger Woods' Tweets, and Your Social Media Content
Have to Do with Estate Planning? (Part I)

In 2016, Golf.com posted an article valuing golf legend Tiger Woods' Tweets at $34,000 each. Tiger's Tweets are now worth over $41 million dollars!  Perhaps it is a bit of a stretch to think that our Tweets are worth anything. But what if you have millions of airline miles banked from a lifetime’s worth of business travel. What happens to these miles after you die? How about your family's online picture album? You may be thinking: "What does this have to do with estate planning?". The answer is everything.

What Are Digital Property Assets?

Tiger Woods’ Tweets are considered digital property assets with a high monetary value. Your online family picture album is considered a digital property asset too; even if it only has sentimental value.

In its simplest form, “digital” means electronic technology. Digital assets are content, like videos, pictures, writings, websites, emails, text messages, audio files, spreadsheets, financial accounts, music files, and any other personal or business digital assets, that are available online, stored online,

Examples of digital assets are:

  • Social media posts (Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, Twitter, TikTok)
  • Images, videos, photo sites (Picasa, Flickr, Canva, Snap Fish, YouTube)
  • Email accounts (Gmail, Yahoo, Comcast)
  • Personal & business websites, logos, designs, blogs, eCommerce (Etsy, Google, Poshmark, eBay)
  • Online accounts (Fitbit, WW, iTunes, eBooks, Coinbase - Cryptocurrency accounts, loyalty/rewards programs like credit card points and airline miles)
  • Audio and video applications (Apple FaceTime, Zoom, Facebook
  • Knowledge Sharing, Publishing and Writing Platforms (Medium, Quora)

Why Should Digital Assets Be Part of An Estate Plan?

Historically, estate planning documents only included traditional property assets, like cash in the bank, stock certificates, jewelry, and real estate. These tangible assets were transferred via wills and trusts, to beneficiaries, upon a person’s death or incapacitation.

The speed and breadth of the online technology highway, unimaginable even two decades ago, has expanded the definition of “assets”, beyond these traditional property assets. Estate plans now include these non-traditional intangible assets

Are There Any Laws That Govern Digital Assets?

Digital assets have become so ubiquitous, that 48 states, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have enacted laws governing digital assets. Most states have adopted a law known as the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA), or the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA). Others have developed similar laws.

These digital asset laws provide fiduciaries, like executors, with a legal guide to managing digital assets of deceased or incapacitated people. Each state has different laws regarding how to plan for digital assets; so it is important to consult with us to make sure that the right rules are being applied.

Next month’s newsletter will explore some specific strategies for protecting your digital assets.


Important Information: The information contained in this newsletter, and any related web page(s), is for general information purposed, by its nature, and does not contain any legal or tax advice. It is written to be accurate and educational. This newsletter may not be construed as legal or tax advice, or solicitation for legal or tax services of any kind. For this reason, no attorney-client relationship is created, and no one should take any legal, tax or other action, based on the information contained in this newsletter or any related web page(s), until having consulted competent professional advisor(s) and attorney(s). Some links in the newsletter may lead to other places on the worldwide web, that are for informational references only. We do not necessarily sponsor, endorse or otherwise approve of the materials appearing in such sites. Nothing contained in this newsletter and any related web page(s) is intended or written to be used, can be used by any taxpayer, or may be relied upon or used by any taxpayer for the purposes of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code. No information contained this newsletter and any related web page(s)relating to any federal tax matter may be used by any person to support the promotion or marketing or to recommend any federal tax matter. Taxpayer(s) should seek advice based on the taxpayer's particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor with respect to any federal tax transaction or matter described in this newsletter and any related web page(s).

Alles Law | 5360 Cascade Road SE | Grand Rapids, MI 49546 | 616-365-5055
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