Estate Planning in the 21st Century – Digital Property

Estate Planning in the 21st Century – Digital Property

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Most individuals have thought of or been suggested about the knowledge of property planning to make sure that property owned at the time of passing is distributed in keeping with the deceased’s needs, in addition to addressing property tax and probate points.

When pondering of bequeathing belongings, the majority of people contemplate solely resembling who ought to have the household jewels or the household dwelling or monetary accounts similar to retirements and insurance coverage insurance policies. Few of us give any actual thought to what occurs to , and as of late, nearly everybody ought to.

As of January 2014, logged over one billion customers, reported “a few billion” customers and LinkedIn had over 250 million customers. Other channels embrace Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, and Slideshare. Together, simply the world creates unimaginable volumes of information, photos and movies.

But what occurs to an individual’s digital property, accounts, footage, movies, and extra when he passes? Many of these things could include Copyright pursuits. Many household information migrateto our on-line world and it is very important contemplate how your digital legacy will stay into the future. for a digital estate ought to take into account the execution, entry and distribution of digital property; the switch of on-line accounts and the way any or content material is to be shared or managed.

Unlike bodily media, which is historically and simply handed to heirs, digital media inheritance, like many areas of legislation, has didn’t sustain with technological developments. Today, hundreds of thousands of individuals obtain  music, ebook and film content material digitally. Matters are additional sophisticated when such digital property shouldn’t be saved to arduous drives however saved in cloud drives and different distant servers. Most content material sellers, together with giants like iTunes and , have but to even tackle switch-on-dying insurance policies. The matter could be sophisticated and has but to have an effect on vital numbers of shoppers. That will change as extra digital age customers go and heirs search to inherit digital property.

At least three states, Idaho, Nebraska and Indiana, have handed to permit heirs to achieve entry to digital accounts. Other states are contemplating such . But for now, almost all on-line providers prohibit the switch of accounts from one particular person to a different, even after loss of life, and the service supplied terminates upon a person’s loss of life ensuing in the lack of years of images, movies and textual content recordsdata.

As a sensible matter, everybody ought to maintain a “digital register” which data all passwords and on-line accounts/ addresses which is maintained securely and supplied upon dying by means of a bequest or different preparations. Recently, inheritance companies have emerged offering a safe place to retailer paperwork and passwords to be handed on to a chosen beneficiary upon the account proprietor’s demise.

Digital property could also be saved regionally on varied external drives or on-line backup providers. Access info must be included with property planning info. Alternatively, one might periodically obtain and archive all (images, tweets, movies and many others.) and hold them on a detachable storage disk for safekeeping. Upon dying, a bequest is fabricated from solely the storage discs with a request that each one on-line accounts be terminated.

SMART TIP: Because the regulation remains to be catching up with know-how, the finest planning is to be ready and account on your digital legacy


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Most people have considered or been advised about the wisdom of estate planning to ensure that property owned at the time of passing is distributed according to the deceased's wishes, in addition to addressing estate tax and probate issues.

When thinking of bequeathing assets, the majority of individuals consider only tangible property such as who should have the family jewels or the family home or financial accounts such as retirements and insurance policies. Few folks give any real thought to what happens to digital property, and these days, just about everyone should.

As of January 2014, Facebook logged over one billion users, Twitter reported "about a billion" users and LinkedIn had over 250 million users. Other social media channels include Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, and Slideshare. Together, just the social media world creates unimaginable volumes of data, pictures and videos.

But what happens to a person's digital property, accounts, pictures, videos, and more when he passes? Many of these items may contain Copyright interests. Many family records migrateto cyberspace and it is important to consider how your digital legacy will remain into the future. Estate planning for a digital estate should consider the execution, access and distribution of digital property; the transfer of online accounts and how any private information or content is to be shared or managed.

Unlike physical media, which is traditionally and easily passed to heirs, digital media inheritance, like many areas of law, has failed to keep up with technological advancements. Today, millions of people download  music, book and movie content digitally. Matters are further complicated when such digital property is not saved to hard drives but stored in cloud drives and other remote servers. Most content sellers, including giants like iTunes and Amazon, have yet to even address transfer-on-death policies. The matter can be complicated and has yet to affect significant numbers of customers. That will change as more digital age users pass and heirs seek to inherit digital property.

At least three states, Idaho, Nebraska and Indiana, have passed legislation to allow heirs to gain access to digital accounts. Other states are considering such legislation. But for now, nearly all online services prohibit the transfer of accounts from one individual to another, even after death, and the service provided terminates upon an individual's death resulting in the loss of years of photographs, videos and text files.

As a practical matter, everyone should keep a "digital register" which records all passwords and online accounts/ addresses which is maintained securely and provided upon death through a bequest or other arrangements. Recently, inheritance services have emerged providing a secure place to store documents and passwords to be passed on to a designated beneficiary upon the account owner's death.

Digital property may be stored locally on various external drives or online backup services. Access information should be included with estate planning information. Alternatively, one may periodically download and archive all digital files (photos, tweets, videos etc.) and keep them on a removable storage disk for safekeeping. Upon death, a bequest is made of only the storage discs with a request that all online accounts be terminated.

SMART TIP: Because the law is still catching up with technology, the best planning is to be prepared and account for your digital legacy

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Biography

Ms. Jeanette Eirich serves as Of Counsel with The AR Group.  Her practice focuses on litigation and Trust & Estate planning, including succession planning for small businesses.   Ms. Eirich has nearly 20 years of experience in litigation state and federal courts, including complex and multi-district litigation, products liability, mass torts, RICO, fraud, criminal defense, probate, family law and general civil litigation.  She is licensed to practice in Colorado, Texas and Arkansas.

Prior to her association with The AR Group, Jeanette provided strategic litigation planning and Daubert/Frye expertise as Special Counsel in multi-district and mass tort product liability litigation for a large national civil defense firm. Jeanette is a results-oriented legal professional who constantly seeks innovative and proactive approaches to achieve client goals. 

Jeanette holds a BA in psychology with a business minor from The University of Denver, graduating cum laude, and her JD from University of Virginia, School of Law.  Jeanette graduated from the DEA Diversion Investigator Program, FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia and worked for DEA before attending law school.

An avid sports fan, Jeanette aspired to be the first female NFL Referee – but then fell in love with the law.   

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