Most Estate Plans Ignore Digital Property

Many Estate Planning attorneys are not prepared for the modern era. At this point, very few attorneys are creating a plan for disposition of digital property. Digital property is not cell phones and tablets, but the information stored on them. This can include information stored on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, and more.

Some may think they do not need to worry about these accounts because they have no value. This line of thinking is categorically incorrect. Much of this information holds immense sentimental value, including communications, pictures and videos. Other assets may have more economic value including business websites, frequent flier miles or even bitcoins. Still others have a large digital library of books, movies or songs. Even online accounts with stored credit card information should be properly disposed of, as identity theft, even for those who have passed, is becoming more and more rampant.

In 2016, Florida became the first state in the nation to pass legislation adopting the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA). These rules require specific triggering language in a trust, power of attorney or will, otherwise this digital property will be inaccessible. Using generic catch all phrases or including digital assets in one’s “entire estate” will not be enough. A family member or loved one could even potentially be criminally prosecuted if they try to access digital property without the correct triggering language under the UFADAA. Please hire an estate planning attorney who is familiar with these recent legal changes. Call us today if you have any further questions.

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