One of the biggest changes to estate planning over the last few decades has been the increase in the number of estates that own digital assets. If you fail to create plans for how your digital assets should be handled after your incapacity or death, undesirable consequence could occur involving the asset. In some situations, your family or loved ones might even be blocked from accessing an account.
With a properly written digital asset plan, you can make sure that your digital assets are adequately handled in case something happens to you. This might mean that the assets are deleted or transferred to the ownership of someone else. The best-written estate plans can also make sure that your services are sufficiently closed if something happens to you and that these assets do not continue to train money from your estate. Additionally, a plan guides what you would like done with your digital assets as well as your online presence.
In the hopes that it will help you gain control over the future of your digital assets, this article reviews some critical things that you should remember about creating an estate plan for your digital assets.
# 1 – Make Sure to Fully Address Each Account
Digital accounts have different levels of importance. You might decide that some accounts should be deleted and others should be transferred after your incapacity or death. The key digital accounts to consider are:
- Google. Comprising things like Google Drive and YouTube, a person can utilize Google’s Inactive Account Manager if they no longer want emails to be read. This Manager can be triggered due to inactivity as short as three months and as long as a year and a half.
- Facebook. Memorializing a Facebook account following someone’s death is a standard occurrence. A legacy contact can also be appointed to make decisions about how the account is handled.
- Amazon. Encompassing things like streaming (Prime Video), music (Amazon Music), and other features, a person with an extensive Amazon account might decide to keep the account intact and pass the assets to another person.
- Apple. Much like Amazon, a person with an extensive Apple account might decide to pass this on to someone else. It’s also critical to remember, that if an Apple account is deleted or transferred, it’s almost impossible to get it back.
- Microsoft. This account includes things like Office, Skype, LinkedIn, and Xbox. A person must decide to either pass on these assets or delete them.
# 2 – Pay Attention to Individual Terms of Services
In 2016, the New York Legislature enacted a version of the Uniform Law Commission’s Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. Many other states have also passed laws that give individuals the right to access and manage digital assets after they die. Despite these bodies of law, many digital accounts are governed by individual terms of service or privacy policies.
# 3 – Share Your Passwords
Facebook has a Legacy Contact, while Google has an Inactive Account Manager. Each of these managers assumes that a person has the time to take control of their digital affairs. Unfortunately, because people do not always do this, people sometimes need to take assets into their control. As a result, it is often critical to make sure to share your password as well as instructions about how to access your account to loved ones. A password manager can help you share these details with loved ones.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning is challenging, but an experienced estate planning lawyer can make sure that you achieve each of your goals. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.