» Estate Planning Should Include Digital Assets, Says Attorney with Gilfix & LaPoll

Estate Planning Should Include Digital Assets, Says Attorney with Gilfix & LaPoll

Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) December 23, 2013 – A prominent estate planning attorney says digital assets need to be considered as part of estate planning.

“In today's world, many people own significant assets that exist only in digital form, whether it is currency such as Bitcoin or items of sentimental value such as family photos,” said Palo Alto estate planning attorney Michael Gilfix. “There needs to be a plan to pass these assets on to one's heirs.”

Gilfix said that online assets may also include such items as PayPal accounts, frequent flyer miles, iTunes libraries, online gaming accounts and many others. Any system for storing value electronically has the capacity to store significant assets that should rightfully be passed down to one's heirs. However, without a plan in place, their value could be lost.

Each provider of online services has its own policy for access to user accounts. Some states have passed laws that grant the executors of an estate access to online accounts. Of course, access to the accounts is often simply a matter of knowing the basic account information, including the relevant passwords.

According to Gilfix, people engaged in estate planning should make a list of their digital assets, just as they take stock of their traditional assets. The list should include instructions for accessing the accounts, including usernames, passwords and a description of what is contained there. The list should be stored in a safe place, where the executor or personal representative of one's estate will be able to find it (but an unauthorized person will not). The list may be kept with one's attorney or in a safe deposit box. It can also be kept on an online data storage service; some specific services have been created for this very purpose.

In addition to username and password access, one's executor or personal representative needs legal authority to use the accounts. Possessing the password to an online bank account does not mean that an executor can or should issue any payments. Estate planning documents, such as a will, and any trusts or durable power of attorney documents will dictate who has the authority to deal with online accounts.

Facebook: Like Us!

  • California couple’s eviction highlights dangers of elderly financial abuse
    The elderly can be vulnerable to various forms of elder abuse, one of which is financial exploitation. Financial exploitation involves unauthorized use of an elderly person’s finances or property, either by a family member, caregiver or an unknown scammer. The media recently reported the case of an elderly California couple who faced eviction from their […]
  • ‘Finding Dory’ puts spotlight on children with special needs
    Pixar’s recent film “Finding Dory” will have resonance for parents who have children with special needs. The animated film is the sequel to the 2003 blockbuster “Finding Nemo.” It tells the tale of a blue tang fish named Dory who suffers from short-term memory loss. She cannot remember names, faces or even her way back […]
  • Thank You For Making our 13th Annual Special Needs Seminar our Best Yet
    Gilfix and La Poll wishes to thank the hundreds of attendees, and wonderful nonprofit co-sponsors, for making our 13th annual Special Needs Seminar our best yet! We were overwhelmed with the response, and with all of the kind comments we received from seminar attendees. We were also thrilled to see many attendees connecting with co-sponsor […]
  • Gilfix and La Poll invites families to attend 13th Annual Special Needs Trust Seminar
    Let’s face it, everyone is worried about the future of government benefits and how individuals with special needs will be cared for. To address this attorneys Michael Gilfix and Mark Gilfix of Gilfix and La Poll Associates are offering a free special needs planning seminar on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 in Palo Alto, California. The […]
  • Autism costs rise dramatically with age: study
    Caring for individuals with autism and other special needs tends to involve a lifetime of expenses, whether it is paying for caregivers, accommodation or daily necessities. A study from the University of California, Davis (UCD), shows California spends significantly more on adults with autism compared to children who have the disorder. Researchers found state expenditures […]

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , ,



Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required