Articles Tagged with digital assets

The internet has turned the paper trail of one’s life into virtual confetti of online accounts. Sure, it’s not hard to find someone’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. You might even be able to guess a password or two. But you won’t guess them all, and even if you could you might be breaking the law; in many places, accounts can’t be legally accessed by anyone other than the holder.

All that gray area creates the potential for Twitter, Facebook, email and other accounts to sit stranded online in a state of suspended animation. At best, they’ll be creepy reminders every time they prompt friends and family to wish a happy birthday to the departed. At worst, they’ll keep important assets, like bank balances, locked away.

There are currently federal and state laws that may make it a criminal offense for anyone other than the account owner to access an account. This is true even if the owner gives another person permission to do so.  By the end of 2017, it is expected that almost every state will have enacted some form of the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. RUFADAA will allow for users to request a digital assetsservice provider to give a fiduciary access either by opting in on an online tool furnished by the service provider or through one’s estate planning documents.

The biggest challenge facing your estate may be finding digital assets after a death. If your family or named fiduciary isn’t aware that you have a Dropbox account, no one may ever look for it.

We recently partnered with Directive Communication Systems which provides personal representatives with a powerful solution for managing personal accounts. When the time comes, DCS works with accounts to implement an estate’s final wishes which may include deletion, transference, memorialization or other instruction. Even a financial institution can be contacted to initiate next steps for the attorney. With DCS, you can be assured that accounts will be managed securely and estate administration will be handled smoothly saving both time and anxiety.  Continue reading

Many people don’t like to talk about death but they will if it has anything to do with protecting their assets – including digital assets. Digital assets are your online accounts, digital currencies, online accounts, passwords, digital files, user names, and any Terms of Service Agreements (TOSA) that you signed. With the growth of digital technology and Estate Planning in the Digital Ageuse, these assets are expected to be worth over US$5 billion by year 2020. You will need and should have a will drawn up to protect these assets either after death or in case of incapacity to ensure that your loved ones gain legal access to these assets.

The First Step: Assigning Assets

Before anything else, you will have to list down all your digital and traditional assets since your will or estate documents will incorporate all assets. You will need a fiduciary, an executor for your traditional assets, a personal agent with power of attorney in case of incapacity to make decisions, and a trustee. These are the individuals chosen by you to manage all your assets according to your wishes so it is important to select them wisely.

The main issue facing digital assets is the fact that they are not tangible assets and exist primarily on the Internet. The individual tasked to manage your digital assets will have to deal with extenuating circumstances far different because these digital assets may or may not have monetary value. In fact, they are valuable to you because they represent something sentimental to you like a memory or a milestone.

The Second Step: Understanding the Laws on Digital Assets
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Asset protection planning, no matter what anyone tells you, was never meant to be a tax avoidance tactic. Asset protection planning is a legal option for planning your wealth in advance of a claim or the threat of a claim.retirement trust

Asset protection planning is used to improve your bargaining position, make options available for settling claims, and avoid litigation – not to escape paying your taxes or debts or hiding your wealth from certain people.

And while there are some who insist asset protection planning is a form of cheating, this is only a perception because the truth is: There are some who try to use this option to cheat and lie, but it does not make it right and eventually they get caught.

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Estate Planning in the Digital AgeWhen computers are being used in kindergarten classes to teach computer skills, it is a glaring sign that our society is fully immersed in the digital age. For some of us, we are completely paperless and perform all transactions online, store all records online, and rush to purchase the latest technology that simplifies our lives. For others, they are in-between jumping in feet first and wading into the digital age. The rest simply refuse to adopt technology and prefer to live as far off the grid as possible.

Regardless of your feelings on the subject, the fact remains that most of us will leave some type of digital footprint when we die. The digital age has forced estate planning professionals to develop new techniques to help estate executors and families identify assets and debts. Furthermore, some of those assets may be digital in nature which could affect how those assets are transferred.

Identifying Assets and Debts in the Digital Age

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Facebook Legacy Contact - What Happens to my Facebook Account When I Die?Digital assets have become one of the leading problems in estate planning because attorneys are rushing to catch up with the technology and the laws governing who may have access to your online accounts once you pass. Most people now have multiple social media accounts that have a wealth of information they may want family and/or friends to have once they are gone. On the other hand, some people may have information in their social media accounts that they prefer to be deleted never to see the light of day by another person.

Therefore, in addition to providing for your family’s financial security, protecting your assets, and ensuring your assets are distributed according to your wishes, you must now consider what to do with your online social media accounts when you die. Facebook has made this a little easier for account holders.

Facebook Legacy Contact

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