Q: What happens to my online assets upon my death?
Truth be told, many of us have difficulty being separated our cell phones and tablets for minutes – – much less an eternity. But have you ever considered what would happen to all of your online accounts after you’re gone? Just like your other more tangible property that you plan to distribute after you die, you have digital property rights to confer as well.
Comprehensive estate planning today should include provisions for the disposition of your digital property because –unlike you—cyberspace is forever. And differing rules govern and restrict who owns and may access those accounts both during your life and thereafter.
What, exactly is “digital property”?
Digital property includes such items as:
electronically stored data
user accounts (such as email accounts, social networking accounts, and online storage accounts)
Who do you want to have access to what accounts? Sometimes, the person you want to manage or receive your digital assets may be the same as the person receiving or managing your tangible personal and financial property. Other times, it may be someone different. Or maybe you don’t want anyone to have access to certain accounts—or you want them deleted once you’re gone.
In Minnesota as in many states, the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) allows digital property owners to give designated fiduciaries “access to and authority to manage digital property” –but without it, access to said property may be impeded. Whether you prefer that your intangible digital property also is managed by the designated executor, trustee and/or agent under a power of attorney for
Remember to consider whether that person would be adept or lame at handling your digital property. Uncle Henry may be a savvy financial investor and organized executor for your estate someday, but unlike your niece, Chelsea the social media whiz, he may never have heard of Instagram, Go