• Charlotte: +704.369.9977
  • Fort Mill: +803.594.4453
Consultation Request
Share

NC and SC Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm

Monday, May 16, 2016

Why Digital Assets Should Be Part of An Estate Plan

What happens to my social media accounts after I die?

Technological innovation is shaping many aspects of our lives as more of our affairs are conducted digitally. Through the widespread use of email and social media accounts, computer storage of digital pictures, online bank and investment accounts, many of us have acquired a portfolio digital assets. But what happens to these assets when we die?

Currently, there is no clear direction under the law in North and South Carolina regarding the legacy of digital assets. Elsewhere, only a handful of states have enacted laws concerning digital assets with respect to estate planning. In addition, the Uniform Law Commission, a group of attorneys across the U.S., has drafted the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) which is designed to enable executors and attorneys-in-fact to gain access to the digital assets of decedents. At this time, however, the measure has only been adopted by a few states.

For their part, some tech companies, such as Google and Twitter, provide a way for user accounts to be shut down after they are notified about an individual's death. In February 2015, moreover, Facebook introduced a feature that allows users to select a legacy contract - a family member or friend who can manage their account after they die or, in the alternative, arrange to have the account permanently deleted.

Most of us don't think about death when we're liking comments or photos on Facebook, sharing pictures on Instagram, or sending out our latest brilliant idea on Twitter. Because this aspect of trust and estates law is unclear, there are steps you should take now in order to protect your digital assets.

Estate Planning and Digital Assets

In traditional estate planning many individuals name an executor or a trustee to manage their assets after they die. The same can be done for digital assets.  Whether you select a spouse, family member or close friend to act as a trustee of your digital assets, the trustee must have access to the passwords for all of your online accounts.

Therefore it is essential to identity and inventory all online email and social media accounts, memberships, bank and investment accounts and subscriptions along with web addresses, user i.d.'s, passwords and account numbers. The executor should be provided with instructions on how to obtain this information and how these accounts should be handled.

Whether the UFADAA will be adopted by all the states remains to be seen. Two previous measures failed to gain legislative support over privacy concerns, and the question as to whether there is a right to privacy after we die has yet to be resolved. Meanwhile, estate planning attorneys will be tasked with helping clients decide how their digital assets will be managed when they pass away.


Archived Posts

2019
2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
January
2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2014
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2013


Monk Law Firm, PLLC assists clients throughout Charlotte, Rock Hill, Fort Mill and the surrounding areas.



© 2019 Monk Law Firm, PLLC | Disclaimer
1701 First Baxter Crossing, Suite 101, Fort Mill, SC 29708
| Phone: 803-594-4453
13315 Carowinds Blvd., Suite Q, Charlotte, NC 28273
| Phone: 704-369-9977

Estate Planning | Elder Law / Medicaid Planning | Guardianships | Probate / Estate Administration | Special Needs Planning | Veterans Benefits | Business Law | Business Succession Planning

Law Firm Website Design by
Zola Creative