Estate Planning Awareness Week is here! This year, we are focusing on the importance of good estate planning for one's digital assets. Digital assets can be personal property (e.g., photos, videos, gaming accounts, loyalty programs), content on social media accounts (e.g., Facebook, TikTok, Instagram), and/or financial assets (e.g., credit card accounts, virtual currencies, loans, retirement accounts).
While many digital assets may only hold sentimental value you and your family, some of them can have significant monetary value. However, things can get tricky when it's time to pass digital assets down to the next generation. It's important to keep in mind the complex web of common law and state and federal statutes that apply to this process, as they could take effect while you are still alive (if you become incapacitated).
Some of the laws that affect access to digital assets are:
The Stored Communications Act. This legislation protects access to email without the user’s consent. If there are not clear directions in an estate plan, the deceased’s personal representative can have trouble gaining access from the email provider.
The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. Most states have adopted this legislation (including California), which governs the disclosure (or non- disclosure) of digital assets when a person dies.Digital assets present new complexities that may necessitate revisiting your estate plan especially if you have not in several years. If you need help with your estate planning for your digital and/or other assets, please feel free to reach out to us at (760) 448-2220.