Digital Assets in Florida Probate
It is hard to believe how vastly today’s digital world has advanced in the past twenty-five years alone. Through human history, the passing on of estates included physical items such as forms of transportation and plots of land. While that is still certainly the case, in today’s day and age those who are creating an estate plan also need to take into account the management and inheritance of digital assets.
Due to the technological and digital advancement throughout the world, the management and inheritance planning of digital assets has become a keystone in countless individual’s estate plans and probate processes. More and more people are accumulating significant digital assets, so it is crucial to understand the challenges and complexities that can arise while accounting for these assets in an estate plan or probate process.
This article aims to touch on several tips and strategies for you to consider as you move forward in building an estate plan that accounts for your own digital assets. With adequate planning, you can help to ensure that the process of probate and inheritance goes as smoothly as possible for your successors.
Digital Assets and their Importance:
Digital assets can encompass a great many things. A digital asset could include an online account, online banking, digital media libraries, even cryptocurrency wallets. It is important that in the course of your estate planning, you properly identify and value these assets that you have accrued.
Digital Inventories and Organization
One of the most frustrating parts of probate and settling an estate can be sifting through EVERYTHING to try and determine what assets one even has. If everything is left unorganized and uninventoried, it can become difficult to identify one tree in the forest, or to see the forest for all the trees. Because of this, a critical step in managing your digital assets is to create a detailed, organized inventory of what you have. This might include a list of all digital accounts with usernames, passwords (and, of course, ensuring that this information is only accessible to those you want to have access to it.) A trusted individual should have a mechanism whereby they can access this necessary information in the case of death or incapacitation.
Terms of Service Agreements and Digital Estate Planning Tools:
Many individuals do not realize that a great many online platforms already have specific terms and service agreements in place which dictate how that digital asset is handled after a user’s death.
It is also important to come to understand the estate planning tools available to you to manage your digital assets, such as online will repositories and password managers. These are items that are not strictly required, but might be beneficial to you and your loved ones as you plan for your estate’s future.
- Protecting Digital Assets
It would be prudent to remember that digital assets are vulnerable to identity theft and other forms of cyber theft. This vulnerability highlights the importance of implementing strong security measures to safeguard your digital assets. These might include common-sense items such as ensuring you use strong passwords, that your passwords vary from site to site, that you enable two-factor or even three-factor identification, and that you ensure that your security settings are regularly updated.
Contact Suncoast Civil Law
The esteemed Sarasota wills & probate lawyers at Suncoast Civil law can help you navigate through building your digital assets into your estate plan, and discuss any issues with digital assets you may be facing in the midst of probate. Contact our office today to see how our team can work to benefit you.