Financial Planning: 5 Tips for Protecting Your Digital Assets in Your Estate Plans

Feb 18 • Estate Planning, Financial Planning • 1385 Views • No Comments on Financial Planning: 5 Tips for Protecting Your Digital Assets in Your Estate Plans

As the world has moved digital, most of us now own a variety of digital assets.  These include photos on our phone or iPad, music, social media pages, and our e-mail accounts.  When it comes to financial planning, the question is arising: what happens to these assets when you die?

Currently, many terms of use agreements with Internet Service Providers and various accounts limit access to the account holder.  When an account holder dies, the fiduciary does not have the legal authority to access the account.  They could actually face fines or be thrown in jail!  In 2014, the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) was approved by the Uniform Law Commission.  One state to date – Delaware – has passed the act.  The act defines a digital asset as an “electronic recorded” with a record being “information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form. “1

As the law catches up to digital innovation, there are five steps we recommend you take:

  1. Document the name and website of every online account you have. Make sure to capture all the places you are registered – this includes retailers, service providers, physician portals, financial accounts/sites, etc.  I’m even registered on my vet’s portal for my dog’s information!  You are likely to find you have a lot of electronic accounts.
  2. Write down your username and passwords for these accounts. You can keep these in a journal or use a password saver such as Keeper Password, Lastpass or Password Box.   See ratings on each from PC Magazine.

If you use a Password saver, remember to document the password for that site!

  1. List the email addresses associated with each electronic account. Add these to your list so that you provide all the information potentially required for others to access.
  2. Summarize what each account/website contains. This can help your executor/fiduciary and family to know priorities.
  3. Talk with your estate attorney about the appropriate way to include your digital assets in your estate planning documents. Last, but certainly not least, work with your attorney to tie in the laws of your state.

Keep these steps in mind in order to give appropriate people access to your digital assets when you die.

For more information, visit our website at makinglifecount.com or contact Joni Lindquist – jlindquist@makinglifecount.com, (913) 345-1881.

  1. National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform Laws, Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Approved July 16, 2014

Photo credit: Ervins Strauhmanis / Foter / CC BY

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