La'Rae H. Hendrix P.A.
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How to manage digital assets in estate planning

The internet is becoming increasingly ingrained in daily life, yet many people don't consider what will happen to their online assets and accounts after they pass away. For many Florida residents, estate planning should include a clear online of what should happen to digital properties should one become incapacitated or pass away. This includes listing online accounts, providing passwords and naming an individual to manage these digital assets.

The term "digital asset" can apply to many different types of things including email accounts, bank and brokerage accounts, frequent flier accounts and social media profiles. Anywhere that tender or information is stored online is consider a digital asset, and should be a part of the estate planning process. Without the passwords to these accounts, it can be difficult if not impossible for an executor to gain access after someone passes away.

Outside of the online world, executors should also be aware of any passwords needed to access computers, mobile phones and back up drives. Without this, they may be unable to access valuable information. Of course, it is important to only give this information to someone who is highly trusted and to clearly authorize them in writing should legal access issues arise.

Dealing with digital assets after a death is still a new issue in estate planning, and even with proper documentation there could be execution challenges. For example, some service agreements for online accounts may restrict third-party access. Many of these circumstances are governed by the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA). It is a good idea to find a lawyer with familiarity in estate planning matters, particularly digital asset law in Florida, when planning this section of an estate.

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