How Do Digital Assets Figure in Your Florida Estate Plan?
Estate planning has changed over the years, especially because digital assets are now a part of most people’s lives. Digital assets are electronic records that you have an interest in or a right to. The term can refer to an underlying asset as well, provided it’s an electronic record of some type.
One of the challenges with digital assets is figuring out where they stand in your estate plan. What you list now in the way of digital assets could change entirely in 10, 20, or 30 years. This is why it’s important to retain a West Palm Beach estate planning attorney who understands digital assets.
What is a Digital Asset?
An example of an asset that you could be confused by is a bank account. Your online bank account would be digital, but the underlying asset is money, which is a physical asset. However, cryptocurrency would be a digital asset as there is no physical monetary account. Other digital assets can include reward points, digital books, blogs, digital photos, and any information that you have stored on a digital device or drive.
Who Has Access to Your Digital Assets After You Die?
In general, only a designated person or fiduciary has the right to legally access your digital assets after you die. The court will often appoint someone as the estate representative provided there is no executor named in your will.
If there is a person named as a fiduciary in an estate plan, but no mention of digital assets, then there needs to be a court order to give the person access. If you want someone to have access to all of your digital assets, then you need to ensure that your estate plan addresses it. If they are given access, they will need to present some documentation to the custodian first. Required information can include:
- Written request for disclosure;
- Death certificate (certified copy);
- An order authorizing the person, court order, certified copy of letters of administration, etc.; and
- Copy of the decedent’s trust, will, power of attorney, or whatever record there is that shows the person’s consent to have electronic communications disclosed.
Why Your Estate Plan Should Include Digital Assets
Digital assets are just that, they are assets. Failure to include them in your estate plan could mean financial concerns for your family and a possible loss of memories. Without properly protecting your assets, your family could suffer financial losses trying to get them back. For some people, digital assets may not have much financial value, but they are more sentimental in nature. For others, their digital asset portfolio could be worth a significant amount, especially if they made their living online through a website or blog.
You should make a list of your digital assets along with the corresponding passwords, account names, and usernames. Some online platforms have options for naming a legacy. Facebook is a good example as there is an option to designate someone as your custodian.
Contact a Florida Estate Planning Attorney
Don’t leave digital assets out of your Florida estate plan. If you need assistance with digital assets or any other part of your estate plan, contact the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation.