Florida’s Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act empowered fiduciaries, including personal representatives, to access digital information if necessary. That power may not be particularly helpful, however, if your personal representative cannot find your digital assets and login information. This is why preparing a digital assets inventory is an important part of your estate planning.
Let us first clarify what a digital asset is. A digital asset is any form of electronic content or online account with inherent value, whether monetary, sentimental, or practical. In the modern age, the concept of assets extends beyond physical possessions. Digital assets have emerged as a critical part of our lives, encompassing everything from online financial accounts and personal documents to social media profiles and valuable digital creations.
The Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act was introduced to address the complexities arising from the management of digital assets in estate planning. This legislation empowers fiduciaries, such as personal representatives, to access digital information, provided certain conditions are met. However, it’s essential to note that mere empowerment might not suffice if the necessary information isn’t accessible. This underscores the importance of creating a thorough digital assets inventory.
As you prepare your list, include as much information as you think a personal representative would need to be able to access your device or account.
Please note that while you can refer to digital assets in your Will, never include personal information or login information. Wills become public record during probate.
While a will serves as a cornerstone of estate planning, it may not be the most effective instrument for addressing digital assets alone. Wills can become public records during the probate process, potentially exposing sensitive information and login credentials to unintended parties. Despite this, you can still reference your digital assets in your will to provide a general overview of your wishes.
Opting for a trust can offer enhanced privacy and control over the management of your digital assets. A trust allows you to designate a trusted individual, known as a trustee, to oversee the distribution and management of your digital possessions according to your explicit instructions. This approach can circumvent the challenges posed by public probate proceedings.
Where to store your digital assets inventory may be a great concern. Store it in a secure location with your important papers, like your Will. Make sure that at least one person knows where the inventory is and what to do with it.
Terms of service agreements are often part of the fine print that none of us read when we’re opening an online account. However, we probably should. The terms of service agreement controls the relationship between the user and a custodian. You are the user. The custodian is the person or entity that stores or manages the owner’s digital assets.
Many custodians offer an online tool that allows users to state who can access their accounts and for what purpose. This online election overrides a user’s Will, power of attorney, or other estate planning document.
While preparing your estate plan, there’s a good chance you will inventory your property. Make sure you take a few moments to consider your digital assets. If you pass away or become incapacitated, your family will need to know how to handle your online accounts and other digital assets.
At Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., we help clients build a solid plan for their estates, then keep that plan up to date. Please call us at (772) 266-5108 to schedule an appointment or fill out our Contact Form. We are located in Palm City, Florida, and serve clients in surrounding communities like Stuart, Hobe Sound, Port St. Lucie, and Jupiter.