Don't Forget to Consider Digital Assets in Estate Planning
An emerging area of law is that of digital assets in an estate planning context. Digital assets may include personal or business websites and blogs, email, social media, financial accounts managed online, business loyalty rewards, online photo albums and more. The list will continue to grow as technology continues to develop at a blistering pace.
The ultimate question is what will happen to those accounts when you die? Some may be transferable, but who should they be transferred to? Which accounts exist under a user's license that terminates upon death?
At the time of this writing, the Uniform Law Commission is drafting model law for states to authorize estate fiduciaries to access digital accounts. While a handful of states have drafted and enacted their own laws concerning digital assets and estate planning, Texas has not yet done so.
Nonetheless, it is vital for every person who engages in password-protected online activity to make plans for the disposition of those accounts upon death. Planning ahead can help prevent identity theft, loss of a deceased's personal story, and losses to the estate.
The following steps can help you protect your digital assets:
- Prepare a comprehensive inventory of online accounts
- Make a plan to provide someone with information needed to access online accounts in case of emergency
- Prepare a power of attorney or other legal document authorizing an agent to access digital assets in case of your death or incapacity
- Consider placing digital assets in a trust
- Consider revising your will to include digital asset information
- Research and discuss the use of an online afterlife company with your attorney
The current legal environment regarding digital assets is in flux, but clients can still make their intentions and desires clear in a will or other legal document. Make sure your digital assets are protected by contacting an experienced estate planning attorney today.
An experienced Bryan-College Station, Texas estate planning attorney can provide assistance and answer questions related to wills and trusts issues. Call the Peterson Law Group to make an appointment at 979-703-7014 or fill out our online contact form.