Digital Assets and Online Accounts in Estate Planning

Digital assets and online accounts have become an increasingly important aspect of estate planning. These assets, which include things like email accounts, online banking, and investment accounts, can have significant financial value. It is important for individuals to include these assets in their estate plan to ensure that they are properly managed and distributed after their death.

Managing Your Digital Assets

One important consideration regarding digital assets is determining who has the legal right to access and manage them. Many online service providers have terms of service agreements that prohibit anyone other than the account holder from accessing the account. This can make it difficult for an executor or other fiduciary to manage these assets as part of the estate.

To address this issue, some states have passed laws that allow fiduciaries to access digital assets with proper authorization. For example, the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) provides guidelines for accessing and managing digital assets as part of an estate plan. However, it is important to note that not all states have adopted RUFADAA and that the laws regarding digital assets can vary by state.

Another important consideration is ensuring that login information and other necessary details for accessing digital assets are properly documented and stored. This can include things like email and social media account passwords and the location of any digital assets stored on a personal computer or other devices.

Digital Asset Protection Trusts

In addition to the above, it’s important to consider the use of a digital asset protection trust. This allows the holder of the trust to retain control over the digital assets while they are alive, but also provides a clear plan for managing and distributing the assets after their death.

It’s essential to consult with an attorney who has experience in estate planning and digital assets to ensure that your estate plan is comprehensive and compliant with relevant laws.

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Estate Planning

Alexander S. Keenan, Esq.
Alexander S. Keenan, Esq.
Hi, I'm Alex. I consider myself an approachable attorney. I have called the beautiful Hudson Valley home for most of my life. After focusing on things like international commercial law and litigation, I took a step back and pivoted towards helping my community plan for life's greatest moments. My firm specializes in estate planning, small business law, and real estate law.