Estate Planning for Virtual Assets

Laptop, tablet and phone

Now more than ever, our lives are lived in online spaces. We pay bills, socialize, work, and play virtually. It is natural that our assets would become increasingly virtual as well. Despite spending much of our free time online, few of us ever really consider how our digital assets might be handled after we pass away. It is an important conundrum to weigh even if you are a Bitcoin millionaire. Our digital assets deserve our attention – even the ones that hold purely sentimental value.

 

The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Asset Act

The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Asset Act was passed in 2017. Also known as RUFADAA, the legislation established rules around digital account ownership. It gives fiduciaries access to digital assets and allows them to copy and manage them as needed. The original creator or owner of the digital asset in question must give affirmative consent to the disclosure of electronic communications. Otherwise, any terms of service associated with the asset may apply. That is why so many people are opting to outline their specific wishes for their online assets in their wills and trusts.

Not every state has passed RUFADAA legislation. In most of these states, the terms of service or privacy policy associated with the digital asset will supersede any instructions spelled out in a will. Federal data privacy laws generally forbid online account service providers from allowing access to the account by anyone besides the account holder. If you are eager to get into your spouse’s email account after they pass, for instance, you likely will not be granted access just because you were married.

 

Taking Inventory

If you are eager to make plans for your digital assets, spend time taking an inventory of all your online accounts. Which ones would you hate to see abandoned? Do you have cryptocurrency you would like to see a beloved family member inherit? Perhaps you own a successful website and want to see it handled in a particular way after you pass? By listing out all of your virtual assets and considering what you would like to see happen to each of them, you will be on your way to finding a solution that works for you.

 

Once you have assembled your list, schedule a meeting with an estate planning attorney at Hegwood Law Group. We can answer questions you have about your options for virtual asset planning and protection. To protect your virtual and digital assets, call (281) 885-8826 or click here to schedule an appointment with our experienced estate planning team.

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