Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Monday, November 21, 2016

The New Estate Planning That’s Critical for Clients

How can you protect yourself from “cyber intestacy”?

When you think of estate planning, the usual things come to mind: who to leave your jewelry, automobiles, real estate and other tangible property to. Seldom do we stop to consider what happens to our online presence or other property that may only exist in electronic form. This failure to account for our more intangible property can still cause real financial headaches.

In some cases, even if you do have the forethought to make a list of all of your digital domains, usernames and passwords, failing to execute an authorization for release of information can make it difficult, if not impossible for your heirs to access critical information.

Did you know that many website terms and conditions prohibit your heirs from accessing your account?

It’s true. Many of those terms and conditions that we blindly click “accept” can end up hurting our families when we pass on.  Some terms and conditions can even make it illegal to share your passwords with your family members.

Some legislators have taken note of this conundrum and have adopted the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to provide fiduciaries with the right to manage digital estates. Arkansas, however, has not adopted the Act.

What can you do to protect yourself and your family from cyber intestacy?

Despite the fact that the states are divided on how to handle digital assets after death, there are a few simple steps you can take to protect your estate from cyber intestacy.

  • Maintain a comprehensive list of any site on which you have created a profile, including social media, frequent flyer and financial accounts.
  • Make sure your will contains digital-assets clauses.
  • Execute an Authorization to Release Electronically Stored Information for your fiduciaries.

Ask An Expert

Ensuring that all of your assets are protected, whether tangible or intangible, can be confusing. The estate planning attorneys at Hyden, Miron & Foster can provide you with solid counsel as you plan for your future and the future of your loved ones. Contact us today or call 888.770.1848 for a consultation.

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