Digital Assets and Your Estate Plan - Tuohy Law Offices
Digital Assets and Your Estate Plan
July 8, 2024 tlaw
Reading Time : 4 Minutes
Blog, Estate Planning, Living Trust, Living Trust

Digital Assets and Your Estate Plan

Your Digital Assets

Digital Assets might sound like something somebody else owns or is limited to the cryptocurrency world of Bitcoin, NFTs, and “wallets.” However, we all have digital assets, and more of them than we realize.

Digital Assets include documents, photos, videos, books, audio, music, emails, logos, social media accounts, gaming accounts, and financial apps. Sound familiar? Even cryptocurrency owners will grow to more than one billion by 2028.

While you might not have any crypto, you have an email account, listen to music, and have one or more social media accounts. Many of us brag about avoiding social media. However, there is content on those accounts, such as photos and contacts, that we want to protect. In fact, when was the last time you flipped through your old photo albums? Our treasured photos today are digital.

What Happens to Our Digital Assets When We Die?

With only 26% of Americans having an estate plan, it is safe to say very few people have a digital estate plan. Suppose you have an estate plan over eight years old and not updated. In that case, the Living Trust and Financial Power of Attorney documents do not have provisions for applying authority under the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Asset Act. The Illinois RUFADAA was enacted on August 12, 2016.

RUFADAA gives your Trustee, Executor, or Agent the power to access your digital accounts. However, authority is one thing; access is another. What about your passwords? Where do you store them? Does anyone have a copy of all your passwords? Because of access and security, we recommend storing all your passwords electronically in a secure platform like LastPass.

Google allows you to designate an inactive account manager to manage your account. Facebook allows users to designate a legacy contact to maintain a memorial page or delete their account.

There is only one practical solution to organizing digital assets and account access. Please maintain a list, provide passwords in a secure location, and include all of it in your estate plan, preferably a Living Trust, to avoid court intervention.

Your Digital Assets Estate Plan

To ensure your family and friends are left with an accessible and organized legacy, first commit to establishing your Living Trust estate plan. To help you choose the best plan for you and your family, you can explore articles, a tool kit with estate planning forms, asset inventory checklists, and FAQs in our Learning Center.

Once you have chosen your plan, list all your digital assets and passwords and include instructions for what you want to be done with your public profiles and who you wish to receive your marketable assets and treasured digital content and photos. Include your list with your estate plan. And enjoy your peace of mind!

Living Trusts

If you have property, investments, or bank accounts in your name at the end of your life or incapacitation, they risk probate and cybercrime.

  • A Will = Probate. The rule is no one can legally sign your name. Therefore, at your death or incapacity, all assets in your name are subject to the complete Probate process, which averages 18 months and is costly.
  • Living Trust completely avoids Probate.
  • A Living Trust estate plan includes Health Care and Financial Power of Attorney documents and a Last Will and Testament for guardianship of minor children and to “pour over” any assets still in your name at your death out of Probate.
  • Your life insurance policies and deferred compensation accounts can name your Living Trust as beneficiary, subject to essential tax considerations.

Contact us today for further information or visit Tuohy Law Offices now.

Tom Tuohy
Tom Tuohy

Learn more about Tom Tuohy

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Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, 60181

This blog entry is for information and planning purposes. Therefore, it is not legal advice. Please do not use this blog as legal advice, which turns on specific facts and laws in specific jurisdictions. No reader of this blog should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in, or accessible through, this blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the reader’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.