Some of our most cherished possessions are becoming digitized. Photographs and letters that used to be kept in desk drawers and boxes are now no longer physical, but digitally stored online. After we pass, what will happen to our digital treasures? Fortunately, recent developments in digital property law allow for estate planning mechanisms to be used to grant loved ones access to our online assets after we pass. The digital age has fully arrived and estate plans should be in place to protect your digital legacy. Unique Estate Law will design an estate plan that perfectly fits you and secures all of your assets, both online and off, for the future.
New Digital Property Law
Social media accounts hold memories. Not only are these things digitalized, but in more and more situations, they are completely digital with no physical counterpart such as storing them on a computer or flash drive. They are all online. How do estate administrators distribute these online assets when there are restrictive terms-of-service agreements and federal anti-hacking statutes preventing access to anyone but the named account holder?
The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) recently became effective in Minnesota. Simply put, RUFADAA gives internet users the ability to plan for the future management and disposition of their digital assets just like they would their tangible personal property. You can grant your heirs certain levels of access to your digital property. An heir may be able to access computer files, web domains, and virtual currency, but not electronic communications such as e-mail, text messages, and social media accounts.
The new law will allow your heirs to inherit things like your social media and e-mail accounts. For example, if you own a flickr account with photos, after your passing, the law now states that your heirs have a right to those photographs. The user agreements to such websites sometimes say that they technically own the digital assets, but this can now be challenged according to Minnesota law.
Protect Your Online Memories
Under the new law, you can decide what level of access you wish to grant your heirs, the executor of your estate, and others. Without stating otherwise, RUFADAA grants these individuals unrestricted access to digital assets such as virtual currency. For electronic communications, however, they will only be granted access to things like the addresses of the sender and recipient, but nothing substantive as far as message content.
Through a trust, you can authorize access to your online accounts and digital assets. When properly executed, the trust will allow your heirs to take over your digital footprint.
Estate Plans Custom Fitted to Your Individual Needs
Think about the memories we keep online. Think about the digital currency and the important documents that are digitally stored. The value of our online worlds seems to increase every day. Proper estate planning will protect your digital assets and make sure that your heirs have the access to them that you want. Unique Estate Law works with you to develop an estate plan that reflects your specific needs. The individual attention and experienced legal counsel you receive at Unique Estate Law will leave you feeling secure about your estate plans.
If you are interested in having an estate planning consultation, contact us today by filling out a contact form or calling us at (952) 260-2043 with any questions you might have. Feel free to check out our fees page for pricing information.