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 II)

In last month’s newsletter, we talked about the monetary and sentimental value of digital assets, like Tiger Woods’ Tweets, your family’s online photo album, and banked airline miles. These intangible digital assets should be included in your estate plan. In this article, we will look at strategies you can use to protect these digital assets.

Why Can’t I Just Give My Family My Online Log-in Passwords?

You can! In fact, this is part of the two-step processfor protecting your digital assets. Step 1 is to inventory, designate who you want to be the beneficiary for each of your digital assets, and safely store this information.

1. Inventory Digital Assets & Designate Beneficiaries

Make a list. Just like you might write a letter to your family, specifying who gets your grandfather’s watch, a special painting, or that marble chess set; you can create a digital asset list. Write down the name of every online account, the URL, your username and password, and the answers to your security questions. Then specify who you want to be the beneficiary of each of your digital assets.

2. Safely Store Your Information

After collecting all your account details, be sure to put your list in a place for safe keeping. You may consider using a safety deposit box, or simply giving a copy of your list to a trusted family member or friend. It is advisable to include this list, along with other important letters and papers, in a folder that gets stored with your other estate planning documents.

Alternatively, there are inexpensive password management programs, such as 1Password and LastPass, that serve as databases, where you can store your login and security credentials for every website and service you use. They typically offer one master password to access your information; and this password can be stored along with your important estate planning documents.

How Can I Prepare A Digital Estate Plan?

Step 2 of the two-step process for protecting your digital assets, is to designate a Digital Executor, and incorporate your wishes into your estate planning documents.

1. Designate A Digital Executor

A Digital Executor is often a spouse, child, parent, or other trusted individual. They will take full responsibility for your digital assets, based on your predefined instructions. They will have legal access to your online accounts, the ability to delete accounts, archive accounts, post information to these accounts, and distribute ownership and benefits, of these accounts.

The Digital Executor and the Executor of your estate can be, and often are, the same person. However, it is advisable to choose a person who is tech savvy. They need to be comfortable navigating the Internet, logging into online accounts, updating information, downloading information, and changing credentials.

2. Secure your Digital Estate Plan

As we discussed last month, most states, have enacted laws governing digital assets. The law is commonly referred to as the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA); or the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA). These laws provide a legal framework for managing digital assets of deceased or incapacitated people.

Remember, each state has different laws regarding how to plan for digital assets. It is important to consult with us to make sure that your plans for your digital assets are in order.


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