Digital Estate Planning in Florida: How to Plan for Your Digital Assets

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    Digital Estate Planning in Florida: How to Plan for Your Digital Assets

    Digital Estate Planning in Florida: How to Plan for Your Digital Assets

    Digital estate planning in Florida is now an essential task that every individual should complete. It is illegal for an unauthorized person to access digital assets and accounts.

    Many people ask us, “what will happen to my digital assets when I die?”

    It’s a great question, as many digital assets can have as much monetary and sentimental value as physical ones.

    This guide will explain what will happen to your social media accounts, cryptocurrencies and other online accounts.

    What Digital Assets Can Be Included in a Digital Estate Plan?

    A digital asset is any electronic record, file or online account. These may be stored online on websites and clouds and offline on personal computers, mobile devices and storage devices.

    Any digital asset you would like to have made accessible after your death should be included in your digital estate plan.

    If you need any assistance, you should contact an attorney for digital estate planning in Florida.

    Common examples of digital assets include:

    • Social media accounts
    • Online banking accounts
    • Email accounts
    • Cryptocurrency digital wallets
    • Domain names
    • Intellectual property
    • Online subscription accounts
    • E-commerce accounts (such as eBay)
    • Photos and files saved in cloud storage
    • Online dating accounts
    • Gaming accounts
    • Online accounts for utilities
    • Loyalty programs
    • Personal information and data, such as spreadsheets or digital creative projects

    Why Is Digital Estate Planning in Florida Important?

    Protecting your digital legacy is very important. After you’re gone, there may be information you don’t want to be shared with other people. Failure to do so can also leave your accounts permanently inaccessible, so your loved ones can’t obtain their full inheritance. While this may include valuable digital properties such as cryptocurrencies, it can also be highly upsetting for relatives to lose photos, electronic documents and intellectual property.

    Digital estate planning in Florida can also protect your online assets from hacking, identify theft and fraud.

    Florida’s Laws for Digital Estate Planning

    Florida passed laws back in 2016 for digital asset inheritance. It is illegal for someone to make unauthorized access to private digital assets. Because of that, you can protect your online accounts from unwanted eyes through estate planning.

    If you believe you are entitled to someone’s digital assets or are confused about whether your loved ones will have access, contact a digital estate planning attorney in Florida.

    Fiduciary Type Access to Electronic Communications Content Access to Other Digital Assets
    Personal Representative Allowed only if authorized through disclosure online, in a will, trust, power of attorney, other record or a court direction. Allowed access unless the owner opts or states privacy.
    Guardian Allowed only if authorization was given before incapacity. Allowed if authorized by letters of guardianship or court order.
    Attorney-in-Fact / Agent Allowed if the owner is expressly authorized online or in a power of attorney document. Allowed under a grant of specific authority in power of attorney agreements.
    Trustee Allowed if authorized by the trust terms. Allowed unless prohibited by user, trust or court.
    Will Beneficiaries Allowed if authorized in will documents. Allowed if authorized in will documents.

    The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA), lays out three steps for accessing digital assets:

    • The use of online planning tools and services, provided by the digital service – such as Facebook’s legacy contact.
    • A last will and testament, power of attorney, trust instrument or other legal documents.
    • The digital service’s terms of service. However, these often restrict access to the original owner.

    How Do I Set Up a Digital Estate Plan?

    Here are the key steps to digital estate planning in Florida:

    1. Make a List of Your Digital Assets

    Think carefully. What digital assets do you own, from social media accounts to digital hard drives that require passwords?

    You should also note how these accounts can be made accessible. While some websites have systems, such as Facebook’s legacy contact, others may require you to document the password somewhere securely.

    Cryptocurrency digital wallets are particularly sensitive to password or code storage as there is no way to request access as there may be for online banking accounts.

    2. Determine What You’d Like to Happen to Your Digital Accounts

    Next, consider how each digital asset should be handled. The choices here are down to personal preference and will vary with each asset.

    For some assets, you may want them to be accessible by family members or stored and archived, while others should be deleted.

    For each digital account or asset, write down your wishes.

    For example: Do you want your Facebook to be deleted? Do you want your cloud storage photos to be shared with family members? How do you want your cryptocurrency to be shared?

    If some digital assets have monetary value, you may also want to direct your Executor to handle those in your family’s best interest. For example, should credits, points or other assets be redeemed, or should they be managed to increase in value? What would you like to happen to online stores and stock?

    3. Store Information in a Safe Location

    Naturally, passwords, codes and personal digital information are very sensitive. You won’t want it to get stolen or lost in an accident. However, you’ll still need it to be accessible if you pass away.

    The most common storage options are:

    • With an estate planning attorney.
    • With an online storage service.
    • In a locked safe or safe deposit box.
    • With a highly trusted friend or family member.

    4. Make It Legally Binding

    Until you put your wishes into estate planning documents, they’re not legally binding.

    Digital estate planning in Florida requires you to state your wishes in an estate planning document such as a will or trust.

    You can list your digital assets, your wishes for each one and to whom they should be shared with. Your executor will then take care of this upon your death.

    Do not include the passwords or other access information in a Will. Wills become public upon your death, so you don’t want passwords to be revealed.

    As a solution, you can refer in your will to the external document that will direct the necessary parties to the access information.

    5. Speak to a Florida Estate Planning Attorney

    For assistance with any area of digital estate planning in Florida, you can contact an estate planning attorney.

    They can help you with more complicated digital assets such as online banking accounts and cryptocurrency. They can also be appointed as a power of attorney.

    How Do I Estate Plan for Cryptocurrency?

    Any digital currency investments should be carefully included in your digital estate plan.

    Without including cryptocurrency instructions in your estate plan, it may go under the radar or become inaccessible after your death.

    You can read our guide on cryptocurrency estate planning here. As a general rule, you should:

    • Document all cryptocurrency investments
    • Ensure digital wallets will be accessible
    • Address how you want your crypto earnings to be distributed
    • Consider all federal gift and estate tax implications
    • Keep your digital estate plan regularly updated
    • Consult a Florida estate planning lawyer

    Contact a Florida Estate Planning Attorney Today

    If you’re looking to protect your digital assets and online wealth, then our Florida estate planning attorneys can guide you through the process.

    Free Consultations

    Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. is U.S. News and World Reports Tier 1 law firm in Florida, specializing in Estate Planning & Probate since 1958. With award-winning experienced estate planning attorneys, they can help you create a will to avoid complications for your family after your death.

    Schedule a free consultation today to get started.

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