Are you including your digital assets in your Florida estate plan? Now that we are immersed in the digital age, estate planning has become more complex because of the increasing presence of digital assets that need to be planned for. What digital assets are we referring to? They are any form of content or information that exists in a digital format and holds value to individuals or businesses. These assets encompass a wide range of items, including online accounts, social media profiles, cryptocurrencies, digital photos and videos, intellectual property, and more.
A critical fact to know is that the value of digital assets can be both financial and sentimental. When you work with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney he can advise you about including provisions for the management, distribution, or preservation of these assets in your Florida estate plan to ensure that your digital legacy is properly created. Because of the unique nature of your digital assets there may need to be more strategic planning which your experienced Florida estate planning attorney may assist you with.
As digital assets continue to become both more complex and more prevalent, let us share a few recommendations for managing digital assets that we share with many of our clients.
1. Begin with a detailed inventory. You need an inventory of all your digital assets. This includes listing the platforms, accounts, and any associated login credentials. Keep this inventory updated and stored securely.
2. It is necessary to know and review the terms of service for each of your digital assets. This is a constantly evolving area and can be subject to change at any time, usually at the sole discretion of the company that created the digital asset. Familiarize yourself with the terms of service and user agreements of the platforms where your digital assets reside. Some platforms have specific provisions regarding the transfer or management of accounts upon the user’s death or incapacity although this is not the norm.
3. You need to give authority to your agent, your personal representative, and your trustee. You want to ensure each of these three individuals, or one individual depending on the nature of your Florida estate plan, has the specific written authority to manage and dispose of your digital assets.
4. You should create a central password manager for digital assets that are in your Florida estate plan. Think about using password manager applications to securely store and manage your login credentials. Under the guidance of your Florida estate planning attorney you may want to go a step further and provide your future decision maker with the necessary access credentials to this central password manager account. While this will include usernames and passwords, it may also include two-factor authentication methods.
5. Be sure to specify digital asset distribution. Work with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney to clearly outline your wishes for the distribution or disposal of specific digital assets in your estate plan. This can include transferring ownership, deleting accounts, or preserving certain assets for sentimental or historical purposes.
6. Have a plan to regularly review, update, and manage your accounts. Digital assets and online platforms evolve rapidly as opposed to the ownership and access to more traditional assets such as real property. Regularly review and update your Florida estate plan to reflect any changes in your digital asset inventory, platforms, or preferences.
By incorporating these recommendations for managing digital assets in your estate planning, you can better manage and protect your digital assets, ensuring that your digital legacy is handled according to your wishes. Remember, working with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney in this area is critical to remain up-to-date with changing laws and technologies that could impact your goals for your digital assets.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. At David H. Jacoby Elder Law Advocate, P. A., we are focused on providing thorough, ethical, and timely solutions for our clients and their loved ones. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with us.