DIGITAL ASSET PLANNING

digital asset planningMany people, including attorneys and financial planners, are not addressing digital asset planning in a serious and comprehensive manner.  Our online lives are not ephemeral! Let’s look at a scenario: Your Great Uncle Bill dies and leaves you his big house.  You go to his house with your parents and what do you look for? You look for information on the title, the mortgage, the bills, the taxes, etc.You look in the drawers in his desk, you look in the kitchen drawer, and you look in the nightstand next to his bed.You can’t find them! What if your Uncle paid all those bills to an online account? Do you know how to get the service provider passwords? Do you know if you are legally allowed to get the password? Do you know if the bank is allowed to give you the password? You need to have a digital estate plan for yourself and for your loved ones before it’s too late! The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, known as RUFADAA, adds sections 870-884 to the California Probate Code. It defines a digital asset as, “an electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest. The term ‘digital asset’ does not include an underlying asset… unless the asset is itself an electronic record.” California Probate Code §871(h)

UNDERSTANDING YOUR DIGITAL ESTATE PLAN

The Law Offices of Naomi T. Stal has a systematic method for dealing with digital estate planning.  We categorize a digital property based on their use, the law, and their function using estate planning documents:

  1. Online Access to financial assets (digital accounts with no monetary value but act as gatekeepers)(online mortgage payment, online bank accounts, online savings accounts, online utility bills)
  2. Electronic Assets with Value (Money sitting in Paypal, Venmo, Cash, or Crypto-currency)
  3. Electronic Communications (all of your email messages in your email address accounts, texts, social media accounts, domain names, service accounts, posts, etc.)
  4. All other activities we conduct online (subscriptions to Quickbooks, Use of Dropbox for documents, photos in a drive, our web browsing history, etc.)

Based on the law and the reality of our usage of these different digital assets, each category needs their own solution. If it seems overwhelming, it won’t be if you have some help and guidance. Download a free digital asset questionnaire on the side of this page today or call us to consult.