As our society continues to advance, just about everything has received a digital makeover. From grocery shopping to paying our bills, our daily tasks commonly transpire online. When we think about estate planning, we commonly forget about our digital life and assets. If you forget about your digital assets, you could be missing out on a huge part of your overall assets. That’s why you should remember to take all of your files, accounts, transactions, and other digital assets into consideration when creating your estate plan.
What Constitutes a Digital Asset?
While “digital asset” sounds a bit vague, it’s really any online account or service that requires a login or security system to access. Your digital assets could therefore include things such as:
- Smartphone applications
- Social media accounts
- Cloud accounts/files
- Financial accounts
- Web domains
Keeping Your Digital Assets Organized
If you’ve ever tried to access an account and forgotten the password, then you probably understand just how many digital assets you have to remember. For this reason, it’s a smart idea to make a comprehensive list of all of your digital assets as well as your digital liabilities (e.g., automatic online payments).
Your list should include the name of the asset (or liability) and the URL (website) that is associated with it. For each asset (or liability) you should also include the full name that is associated with the account, your account numbers, usernames, passwords, security questions, and anything else that could be required to access the asset. The last thing you want to happen is for your loved ones to struggle or be unable to access your accounts after you’re gone.
Once you have your list of digital assets, it’s important to select who you want to receive each one and what you want to happen to the asset. You can include this information in your will or trust.
The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act
For a long time, executors of estates who lacked the information for relevant digital financial assets were unable to access them. Luckily, most states, including Rhode Island, have adopted a form of a federal law, The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. The Act allows executors of an estate to gain access to the digital financial assets barring a will that says otherwise. The Act does not give executors the right to gain access to things such as social media accounts, text messages, and emails unless the decedent had expressly permitted the executor to do so.
Palumbo Law Helps Those in Rhode Island with Their Estate Plans
At Palumbo Law, our knowledgeable Rhode Island Estate Planning attorneys understand Rhode Island estate planning laws and will work strategically to help our clients uphold and protect their rights. If you are in need of a comprehensive estate plan or any associated documents, we can help. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us today!