When you think about your estate, you may think about your personal property, real estate, or investments. You also have other, less-tangible assets – and they deserve your attention as well. We consider these your digital assets. A digital footprint of your life – and you need to consider them within your estate planning.
Nor should they be stolen by thieves. You can direct that they be transferred, preserved, or destroyed per your instructions. Your digital assets may include information on your phone and computer, content that you uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, or other websites, your intellectual/creative stake in certain digital property, and records stemming from online communications. (That last category includes your emails and text messages.)1
Think of it this way: each password-protected account that you have signifies a digital asset. You may feel that some of these accounts have little value. A cybercriminal might disagree with you. Security software provider McAfee estimates that the average American has $55,000 worth of digital assets.1
Almost all states have now passed some version of the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA), which defines a path for the future of digital assets after their owner(s) pass away.2
First, if the service provider has the equivalent of a beneficiary form permitting the expedient transfer of the asset to a designated party of the original asset owner’s choice, that takes priority. If no such arrangement exists, then the instructions for asset transfer denoted in traditional estate documents must be followed (assuming those documents are properly written). Is none of that in place? Then the service provider’s terms-of-service agreement (TOSA) takes priority.2
By the way, if your service provider’s TOSA defines your online account in terms of a nontransferable lifetime lease, its ownership cannot be transferred to another person. As a result of RUFDAA, however, you have the capability to appoint a fiduciary. This fiduciary will be able to access, manage, or close out an online account defined as a nontransferable lifetime lease. This power may be potentially exercised if you are dead, or alternately, if you are disabled or incapacitated to the point where you cannot manage your account. You must legally name this fiduciary and grant this individual such legal power in a will, power of attorney, or trust agreement, though – if you fail to do that, no such authority can be given.2
Leave a digital access map for your executor – your accounts, your passwords. It need not be seen by others until you pass away or are unable to maintain your digital profiles and accounts. It can be a file stored on a flash drive or similar backup media – and it can also exist on paper.
Check with social media and merchant websites today to see what their policies are for transferring or maintaining digital assets when a user passes away. See how reward points and credits are transferred, and ask how any pending financial transactions will be handled.
If so, then think about appointing a second executor just to handle your digital assets. It may be worthwhile. Let Epic Capital help you with your estate planning today.
For more insights and resources, be sure to sign up for our Weekly Market Commentary. Follow our YouTube channel where we regularly post our Epic Market Minute videos. Follow us on LinkedIn, or like us on Facebook. And as always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a dedicated service professional at Epic Capital.
As a parent or grandparent, you know firsthand the challenges of funding a child’s education. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Act was passed at the end of 2020 and has changed some of the qualifications for students to receive financial aid.
The real rate of return is an important personal finance concept to understand. And it goes hand-in-hand with the rate of inflation. It’s the rate of return on your investments after inflation. The real rate of return indicates whether you are gaining or losing purchasing power with your money.
Recently, you may have seen headlines regarding the Securing a Strong Retirement Act, also referred to as the second version of the SECURE Act, or SECURE Act 2.0.
If there is a “silver lining” to all the inflation talk, it may be that Social Security benefits are expected to see a larger-than-normal increase in 2022. Preliminary COLA Social Security estimates call for a 4.7% cost-of-living increase (COLA) in Social Security benefits next year, which would be the highest since 2009. Benefits rose 1.3% … Continue reading “A COLA With Your Social Security?”
With COVID, there were some who believed that progress on this health issue was a necessary precondition to economic recovery. In recent weeks, we have seen some promising trends emerge on the health front. The CDC is reporting the provision of 295 million vaccinations; 51% of Americans have had at least one injection.1
Epic Capital provides the following comprehensive financial planning and investment management services: Learn More >