Contact Us

Make Sure Your Florida Estate Plan Protects Digital Assets

Florida estate plan

Today’s Florida estate plan needs to expressly declare an “agent” or a “fiduciary” to gain access and control of “digital assets” in case of incapacity or death. If your Florida estate plan has not been updated in the last four or five years, it’s likely that your digital assets are unprotected, advises the article “Properly addressing digital assets on your estate plan” from Southern Nevada Business Weekly.

Digital assets have value not only to owners, but to family members, beneficiaries and heirs. Some assets have sentimental value, like videos and photos, while others, like business records, URLs and gaming accounts, have financial value. Failing to address these issues in a Florida estate plan could result in your executor and heirs being denied access and control of digital assets during incapacity or death.

Here are some examples of digital assets:

  • Email accounts–contain communications and history, including information about other digital assets.
  • Social media accounts/apps: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, etc.
  • Photo Sharing Accounts: Instagram, Shutterfly, Snapfish, Flickr, etc.
  • Gaming and Gambling Accounts/Apps: DraftKings, Esports Entertainment
  • E-Commerce Accounts/Apps: Amazon, PayPal, Etsy, PayPal, Venmo, etc.
  • Financial Accounts/Apps: Banks, Scottrade, E*Trade
  • Retail Accounts: Any store, online shopping that has a username and a password
  • Security Information: Two factor authentication, mobile phone PIN/PW, facial recognition, etc.

Here’s a little-known fact: without the proper legal authority to access these assets, the “agent” or “fiduciary” could be committing a crime. The Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act provides that it is a federal crime to access a computer and obtain information without authorization or when exceeding authorized access.

Most states have adopted the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA 2017). The Act contains specific language to be used in wills, trusts or power of attorney to name a “designated recipient” or “fiduciary” to access, control, transfer, or close digital assets upon incapacity or after death. RUFADDA also provides specific procedures for companies to disclose digital assets to a designated recipient or fiduciary.

If your Florida estate planning assets do not address the issue of digital assets or do not use the specific language of RUFADDA, or generally if your estate planning documents were created before 2017, it’s time for a review that includes digital assets.

Even if all you have is a personal email account, you have digital assets to protect. It’s not a big problem to address them in your Florida estate plan but can become a bigger program if they are neglected.

If you would like to discuss  your Florida estate plan options with an estate planning attorney in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, or Naples, Florida, schedule a complimentary call with Edward J. Welch at Welch Law, PLLC.

Reference: Southern Nevada Business Weekly (Sep. 17, 2020)“Properly addressing digital assets on your estate plan”

 

0

Related Posts

How Do You Divide…

How do you divide an inheritance amongst your children?  Here is an example:  a father who owns a home and has a healthy $300,000 IRA has two adult children. The…
Read more

Is It a Good…

Forbes’ recent article entitled “Should A Living Trust Be Beneficiary Of Your IRA?” explains that the general rule is when an IRA beneficiary isn’t an individual, the IRA must be…
Read more

What is the 411…

There are two basic types of 529 plans, says Texas News Today’s recent article entitled “What you need to know about the “529” Education Savings Account.” The more common type…
Read more