Controlling your digital legacy

The State of Elder Law Scholarship: SSRN Articles

 

  • Memento Mori: Death and Wills by Karen S. Sneddon Abstract: Death. The mere point out of the phrase sends shivers down the backbone or provokes a nervous giggle. Modern reactions to loss of life vary from avoidance, as proven by the abundance of dying euphemisms, to fascination, as proven by the quantity of films and tv exhibits centered on dying, together with Twilight’s vampires and The Walking Dead’s zombies. Estate planning is the authorized surroundings wherein an individual confronts his or her mortality and participates within the formulation of his or her legacy. Contextualizing the expertise as a memento mori expertise promotes the perform of the property planning course of, particularly the drafting of the Will. The Will is the doc that nominates the consultant of the testator and the guardians of the testator’s minor youngsters. The Will offers cherished mementos of a life lived. “Remember you have to die” prompts reflection and contemplation.
  • Health Care Spending and Financial Security after the Affordable Care Act by Allison T. Hoffman Abstract: Health insurance coverage has fallen notoriously quick of defending Americans from monetary insecurity attributable to well being care spending. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) tried to ameliorate this shortcoming by regulating medical insurance. The ACA provides a brand new coverage imaginative and prescient of how medical insurance will (and maybe ought to) serve to advertise monetary safety within the face of well being care spending. Yet, the ACA’s coverage imaginative and prescient applies in a different way amongst insured, primarily based on the sort of insurance coverage they’ve, leading to inconsistent varieties and ranges of monetary safety amongst Americans. To look at this image of inconsistent monetary safety, this Article affords a taxonomy to explain methods wherein medical health insurance regulation can promote monetary safety. It then makes use of this taxonomy to map the impact the ACA may have on the monetary safety of numerous insured populations. Specifically, it analyzes how a lot an individual ill would possibly spend out of pocket on well being care in three eventualities: an individual with common protection by a person-market medical insurance trade, a employee with employer-sponsored insurance coverage, and a retiree with Medicare and a supplemental insurance coverage plan. This evaluation reveals two results. First, the ACA alleviates monetary danger from well being care spending to some extent in all three eventualities. But, secondly, the ACA preserves (and will even exacerbate) variability within the diploma and kind of monetary threat remaining throughout the three eventualities. In impact, the ACA asserts and affirms totally different visions of the function of medical health insurance in selling monetary safety for various individuals. This inconsistency leaves some insured particularly susceptible to spending and creates complexity that will impede insured from comprehending these factors of vulnerability.
  • Contemporary Trusts and Estates – An Experiential Approach by Jerome Borison, Naomi Cahn, Susan N. Gary, & Paula A. Monopoli Abstract: In this essay in a particular challenge devoted to educating trusts and estates, the co-authors of Contemporary Trusts & Estates: An Experiential Approach (2nd. ed. Aspen 2014) mirror on how the instructing of trusts and estates can combine coverage, apply, doctrine, and centuries of custom. They describe the genesis of their downside-based mostly casebook and the affect of the Carnegie Report on their alternative of pedagogic framework. Each of the co-authors embraced the elemental rules advocated by the Carnegie Report, which counsels that authorized schooling ought to combine “theoretical and sensible authorized data and professional identification.” This essay goes on to stipulate how the guide incorporates an issue-primarily based methodology in addition to an progressive selection of ordering the chapters that tracks the chronological path of property planning, addressing the lifetime use of trusts first, adopted by points of will validity and interpretation. Drafting workout routines complement the issues in addition to conventional instances that illuminate concept and follow. With chapters on planning for incapacity, the federal property and present tax, property administration and charitable trusts in addition to primary doctrine on intestacy, wills and trusts, the ebook displays the up to date challenges addressed by trusts and estates attorneys. The co-authors have discovered that the guide’s modern strategy engages college students in a means that makes the research of trusts and estates related and college students observe-conscious.
  • Viable Solutions to the Digital Estate Planning Dilemma by Jamie Patrick Hopkins & Ilya A. Lipin Abstract: Countless persons are dying with out correct digital estate plans in place, leaving billions of dollars of belongings unaccounted for within the digital world. This is happening partially as a result of people are sometimes unaware that conventional property planning instruments and methods, comparable to wills, are ailing-geared up to deal with the distinctive challenges of digital estate planning. As a consequence, the bulk of Americans are vastly unprepared for his or her digital afterlife, unintentionally foregoing digital estate planning altogether and leaving their belongings trapped in a digital purgatory. With the continuing progress in our reliance on know-how, interplay by way of social media, digitization of particular person’s property, and additional development of new Internet applied sciences, the quantity and worth of our digital belongings are rising exponentially. In response to this instant want for digital estate planning and administration of digital belongings, some companies started to supply their customers the flexibility to plan for the disposition of their digital property upon their dying. However, as a result of novelty of this space of regulation, the enterprise options at present afforded typically go away extra questions than solutions about what occurs to the person’s digital property, increase considerations about privateness and safety, and increase disputes over their total effectiveness within the property plan. This Essay examines the significance and growing prevalence of digital property, discusses the challenges going through conventional property planning within the rising world of digital belongings, and suggests a workable technique for the creation of a properly-developed and manageable digital estate plan.
  • Who Said Learning Trusts & Estates Can’t Be Fun? by Gerry W. Beyer Abstract: From even earlier than their first day of regulation faculty, Texas Tech University School of Law college students have the chance to understand the significance of the property planning space and to know that it may be each an pleasing and rewarding space of regulation wherein to follow. During orientation, which takes place the week earlier than lessons begin, new college students take part in full-day applications centered on a selected space of observe both of their very own selecting or assigned by the administration. For the 2013 coming into class, I was in cost of two full-day Estate Planning Tracks with a complete of roughly thirty-5 getting into college students. As their authorized training continues, college students have further publicity, some necessary and a few non-compulsory, to property planning matters. In my first yr required Property course, I spend a number of days reviewing the fundamental rules of intestate succession and wills. Texas Tech then requires all college students to finish a 4-credit score introductory course entitled Wills and Trusts as a situation of commencement throughout their second or third yr. Students needing a extra subtle therapy might take programs equivalent to Estate Planning, Texas Estate Administration, Guardianship, Estate and Gift Tax, Elder Law, and Marital Property. Students can also compete for a coveted place as an editor for the Estate Planning and Community Property Law Journal that Texas Tech publishes. This Article reveals my fundamental instructing philosophy and the final pedagogical methods I make use of to make Trusts and Estates subjects each enjoyable and related. I will then share with you the precise instruments I use when educating the introductory course in addition to the superior programs comparable to Estate Planning and Texas Estate Administration. It is my hope that you simply could possibly achieve perception from my strategy to reinforce your individual instructing and the expertise you present to your college students.
  • Older Persons and Compromised Decisional Capacity: The Role of Public Policy in Defining and Developing Core Professional Competencies by Marshall S. Kapp Abstract: Issues regularly come up regarding the cognitive and emotional potential of older people to make sure legally important selections. In confronting these points, the skilled involvement of each attorneys and physicians (and different well being care professionals), performing each individually and collaboratively, is fascinating. This article describes the doable contributions of public coverage in growing, by fostering improvements in medical and authorized training, core competencies for physicians and attorneys which can be important to enhancing interprofessional collaboration on behalf of older people suspected of being compromised of their capacity to make sure important choices. Additionally, concepts are urged to handle sure points of the present coverage surroundings which will inhibit attorneys and physicians from optimum interprofessional interplay on this sphere.

 

5 tips for digital estate planning

5 tips for digital estate planning

Most clients have made plans to dispose of their tangible property after they’ve gone. But these days, people have an awful lot of intangible property to deal with as well.

No one is too worried about what’s going to happen to their Twitter account, but there are some significant financial issues that should be considered when it comes to a client’s digital footprint. Many advisors have even gone so far as to set up digital estate plans for their more wired clients.

Clients considering a digital estate plan should focus on their financial life online, which for many of us has grown into a many tentacled beast. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Clients should maintain a list of all the financial sites they access. Some of these are obvious, like bank and brokerage accounts, credit cards, mortgage accounts, loans, utility bills and other online payments. Others are less obvious, such as accounts at places like Amazon, eBay and iTunes. There are also online payment accounts, such as PayPal, that should be noted.

The deposit accounts, which may seem like the most serious concern, are probably the least of the client’s worries. The money in those accounts will be accounted for in the client’s will, and banks and brokerages are used to dealing with customers who pass away.

Other accounts may require more attention. The client may have money in a PayPal account or may have debts to be paid because of eBay purchases. There may be transferable benefits from a frequent-flyer account. These aren’t likely to be significant amounts of money, but they still ought to be accounted for.

The client should name a “digital executor.” This is the person empowered to deal with all the client’s digital assets, and he or she should have access to the list of online accounts, including all passwords and directions. There’s no legal status for this person, but it should be someone whom the client trusts and who has a facility with online maneuvering. (A grandchild might be a good choice.)

See also: How to use old-fashioned selling methods in a new media age

Google, which is generally ahead of the curve, has created a program that can be of help in this area. Google’s Inactive Account Manager allows the client to name an heir of sorts who can gain access to the client’s online data once his or her accounts have been inactive for a certain period of time.

Are there digital heirlooms worth preserving? Aside from the financial considerations, most of us live a good deal of our personal lives online. It’s worth your clients’ time to consider how much of this should be curated after they’re gone. Perhaps the have a personal or company website they’d like to see continued. Perhaps they have a blog they’d rather see shut down than persist into eternity. Maybe they have accumulated photos on Facebook or Instagram that they’d like to see put into the hands of the proper persons before they disappear into the ether. Most clients haven’t thought about this issue and would likely appreciate their advisor’s concern, even if they do absolutely nothing about it.

Find a safe place to put all this information. Security is of prime concern here, since identity theft could be a real problem if all the information fell into the wrong hands. A printed copy of all passwords and other data, kept in a safe or other secure place, could be one option.

There are online solutions as well. Legacy Locker stores all your information in the cloud and requires the client to name two separate people to contact in case of death. (They even have to provide a copy of the death certificate.) That prevents anyone from trying to claim the client has died in order to get to their data. Legacy Locker also lets the client name different beneficiaries for different online accounts. A similar offering, Secure Safe, is from Switzerland — and the Swiss know their way around secure accounts.

A different type of security is provided by Javont Vault, which doesn’t connect to the Internet at all but simply sits on your home PC. That keeps hackers and other breaches to a minimum. The client’s digital executor would be the only other person granted access to the account.

Finally, put a plan in writing. No one is going to go digging around the decedent’s computer looking for postmortem instructions. Make sure their wishes are clear and easily findable. When it comes to one’s online legacy, it can’t all be done online.

Funerals and Instagram: A look at the funeral hashtags

Ch IV.4. Individual Goals Regarding Digital Assets

After providing for the location, accessibility, and ownership of a digital asset, one must then determine the individual’s estate plan wishes and legacy goals. People generally do not have specific digital estate plans in place, often attributable to the fact they are unaware of the importance of developing a specialized digital estate plan.39 Many people mistakenly believe that the only benefit of estate planning is the disbursement of assets upon death according to one’s wishes.

However, security issues, protecting a legacy (including a personal, family, or commercial image), and fulfillment of an overall estate plan are equally important. Uncertainty as to the dissemination and management of assets often arises in the absence of an estate plan, potentially creating significant strife for family members. It is therefore imperative for estate planning attorneys to consider digital assets in addition to physical or traditional assets to ensure both the fulfillment of their client’s wishes and the safe and efficient transfer of digital assets to the next generation.

What is Digital Estate Planning and Why Do I Need it?

Ch 1: Introduction

Countless people are dying without proper digital estate plans in place, leaving billions of dollars of assets unaccounted for in the digital world. This is occurring in part because individuals are often unaware that traditional estate planning tools and techniques, such as wills, are ill-equipped to handle the unique challenges of digital estate planning. As a result, the majority of Americans are vastly unprepared for their digital afterlife, unintentionally foregoing digital estate planning altogether and leaving their assets trapped in a digital purgatory. With the ongoing growth in our reliance on technology, interaction via social media, digitization of individual’s property, and further advancement of new Internet technologies, the amount and value of our digital assets are growing exponentially.

In response to this immediate need for digital estate planning and management of digital assets, some businesses began to offer their users the ability to plan for the disposition of their digital assets upon their death. However, due to the novelty of this area of law, the business solutions currently afforded often leave more questions than answers about what happens to the individual’s digital assets, raise concerns about privacy and security, and augment disputes over their overall effectiveness in the estate plan. These pages examines the importance and increasing prevalence of digital assets, discusses the challenges facing traditional estate planning in the growing world of digital assets, and suggests a workable strategy for the creation of a well-developed and manageable digital estate plan.

Make Sure You Know Who Will Inherit Your Twitter Account

Make Sure You Know Who Will Inherit Your Twitter Account

People draft estate plans that carefully detail how their money and property should pass to their heirs after they become incapacitated or die.

But what about our so-called digital assets, such as an iTunes account containing thousands of songs, or a Twitter account with hundreds of followers? Can people pass those on as well? And how do they ensure that heirs get access to password-protected bank and trading accounts that exist only online?

Questions like these are popping up with more frequency—and for good reason. A popular blog or Web domain, for example, can have great, or potential, value as a business. But if the owner doesn’t take the proper legal steps ahead of time, their heirs may lose the rights to those assets. Photos, videos, email and contents of social-media accounts also may be lost.

Make a List

Justin T. Miller, national wealth strategist in the San Francisco office of BNY Mellon Wealth Management, a division of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. , says that clients often react with surprise when advisers ask about their plans for passing on things like online financial and social-media accounts. Even the technology executives he counsels, Mr. Miller says, have given little thought to how to provide their heirs with access to some of their online assets.

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Katherine Dean, managing director of wealth planning for Wells Fargo Private Bank, San Francisco, says one couple worth around $20 million seemed abashed when she asked them to detail their digital assets in making a comprehensive financial and estate plan. She gave them a one-page checklist seeking information about such assets as photo and social-media accounts, Web-based games, and online-only banking and brokerage accounts.

“They said, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got to go online to get this,’ ” says Ms. Dean. “Whenever we hear that, we take the time to have the conversation that this is very important.”

The most important thing, estate attorneys say, is to establish procedures for protecting and granting access to passwords and for transferring assets and account ownership. The rules can vary widely depending on the vendor. While there is nothing in Twitter’s company rules and conditions that says one of its accounts must close if the owner dies, Apple Inc. ‘s iTunes says it doesn’t have a policy that allows anyone to will or inherit an iTunes account.

But even where limits exist, by placing the license and necessary passwords in a trust, access to such accounts can be preserved, says Naomi R. Cahn, a professor at George Washington University Law School.

Ms. Cahn explains: Many digital assets are owned through a license that is limited to the account-holder and nontransferable. The license may cease to exist when the account-holder dies, so it can’t be transferred in a will. But by placing the license in a trust, it is possible that the license will survive the death of its creator.

Wills play an important role, too, Ms. Cahn says, mainly in stating who should receive any digital property that is capable of being inherited. A will can also designate who will have access to digital accounts, although this may not be legally binding.

Estate advisers caution against listing digital assets and passwords in a will because the will can become public. Such information instead should go into a separate letter, says Lesley Moss, an attorney at law firm Oram & Moss in Chevy Chase, Md.

Looking for Legislation

A group of states is interested in drafting a law that would make it easier for consumers to bequeath online property by giving fiduciaries the right to manage and distribute their clients’ digital assets.

Lawyers, judges, legislators and law professors from the Uniform Law Commission, a group appointed by state governments to draft and promote new state laws, met this summer to discuss such a proposal.