Today there is a big hole in most estate plans. Most estate plans do not deal with the property and licence rights that almost all Americans have accumulated with their online lives.
What online assets should be concerned with?
- Email Accounts – Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, Comcast, AOL …
- Social Networking Sites – Facebook, Linked In, Google +, Twitter, MySpace …
- Online Storage Accounts, iCloud, Carbonite, Drop Box, mac.com …
- Financial Accounts – Bank accounts, Stock Accounts, Home Loans, Student Loans …
- Photo Storage Accounts – Kodak, Flicker
- Personal or Company Websites and Blogs
- Online Businesses Accounts – Amazon, Walmart.com, Go Daddy.com, other online merchants.
- Auction Sites – Ebay
- Music and Application Accounts – iTunes, Amazon, Android …
- Virtual Property – Second life, World of Warcraft, other role-playing identities
- Payment services – PayPal
Some of the major issues in dealing with Digital Assets we must first determine if we are dealing with a license or a property right. By definition, most licenses expire upon death so the right to asset does not exist when you die. Next you must determine how you will deal with these assets upon your death or prior to your death to preserve access, right of use, limit risks to users for damaging the estate for improper use, and transfer the assets. There are attempts to deal with these issues with software alone, a will, a trust, software and a will, and software with a trust.
One of the problems in dealing with these issues with software alone is that their may be no legal right for the person to access the items and the software may be in conflict with other legal documents like a will or trust.
The next major problem occurs with a legal document only. These can be broken down into two areas. First, the legal document may have no effect on an asset. IE a Will cannot generally transfer a license as it does not exist upon death. Next, the individual is unlikely to keep the legal documents up to date with instructions on how to access the account. In addition, the individuals are unlikely to update passwords as they change. The trend is to require monthly updates to the more secure sites.
What seems to be the best solution: A DAP Trust with integrated software that allows you to update and create beneficiary designations within the trust on the Fly.
If you have a Florida Estate Plan that does not address your digital life or would like to create a DAP Trust for your Digital Assets, Contact a Florida Estate Planning Lawyer who is familiar with Digital Asset Protection.