» 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!

  • Thank you to all attendees of our very successful seminars
    Gilfix and La Poll associates would like to thank the attendees of our very successful seminars about estate planning and long term care in Palo Alto on October 14th. Our audiences were large and highly engaged, and they asked great questions. We are hopeful and confident that they got highly valuable information that will serve […]
  • For a second or third marriage, make estate planning part of wedding planning
    When daily discussions revolve around flowers, music and cake, it may seem unromantic to bring up estate planning. But if you consider renewed estate planning as a way for you and your future spouse to bring old estate plans into harmony with your new hopes for your future family, it can seem a lot more […]
  • Two new studies of Alzheimer’s disease deliver promising results
    Two new studies show progress toward producing a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and discovering its causes. A new study from the Yale School of Medicine has announced a major step forward in the push to find a drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Yale researchers have created a drug that reverses cognitive defects caused by Alzheimer’s […]
  • Adult Siblings of Special Needs Individuals Find Considerations and Resources in California
    Advances in medicine and expanded support services have allowed many individuals with disabilities to live longer than ever before. As a result, an increasing number of siblings will replace their parents in caring for and supporting special needs adults. While many resources exist for the parents of adult children with disabilities, new resources specifically designed […]
  • Talking to Dad about his driving: the surprising side of difficult conversations
    Do you think it will be tough to ask Dad to hand over the keys?  Surprisingly, a recent study from Liberty Mutual showed that 84 percent of seniors are open to talking about the safety of their driving, but that only six percent have actually had the discussion. As Liberty Mutual put it, “Seniors are […]

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



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

* indicates required