Your Digital Undertaker – Exploring Death in the Digital Age in Canada

Your Digital Undertaker – Exploring Death in the Digital Age in Canada

Your Digital Undertaker – Exploring Death in the Digital Age in Canada

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Sharon Hartung, founder & principal of ‘Your Digital Undertaker’ has written a book which is a must read in the digital era-especially if you are a lawyer drafting Wills!

Sharon is a fellow colleague and STEP Affiliate and a committee member of the STEP Global Digital Assets Special Interest Group.

The goal of Sharon’s book is to move the needle on the number of Canadians with a Will and improve estate trustee readiness in navigating their future role in the digital age.

The world has long since gone digital, and so to have estate assets and property. Everyone needs an up- to- date Will which comprehensively includes one’s digital imprint. There is something for everyone-for estate trustees, let it motivate you to ask more questions about your role before you get handed a “digital hell in a hand basket;” for those having challenging conversations with parents, family members or clients, this read opens the door for a meaningful discussion.

Chapter 7, called “Death with a side of Digital”, provides a suggested framework for pre-planning of digital assets including crypto assets that can be done in conjunction with one’s advisor to capture the legalities of the planning.

On topic, is the news segment regarding Gerald Cotten, CEO of QuadrigaCX who died without leaving passwords that unlock the company’s crypto assets. “Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange was granted protection from its creditors Tuesday as it deals with the fallout from its founder’s death and the virtual company’s inability to gain access to $180 million in digital assets believed to be locked in his laptop.”

“Your Digital Undertaker” has soft launched on Amazon Kindle e-books:


Say The Final Words in Your Way With Funeral Planning

Say The Final Words in Your Way With Funeral Planning

As we all know, a person who take birth on this earth has to die one day. No One ever predict whether or where it happens. But it surely happens one day. Nobody knows they awake next morning or not. People always fear of death because they don’t want to leave this world and their loved ones.  But you can lessen the burden of your family members by planning your own funeral.

Funeral planning can seem overwhelming. Losing a family member is an emotional experience, and grief can make the funeral planning process difficult in the meantime. Pre-planning of final arrangements helps to give relief to your family in both emotional and financial burdens. However, funeral pre-planning services also offer support to those who have an immediate need to plan a funeral for a family member or friend who has passed away. Funeral pre-planning services offer all the arrangement and provide all the benefits to your family after you pass away. Final farewell offers funeral pre-planning services that can help your loved ones to better cope with your passing. By offering the ways for you to communicate with your loved ones one last time and lessen their burden.  Funeral pre-planning services give them closure and strength when they need it most.

Any time is a good time to plan your funeral … except at the time of the funeral.  You planned everything in your life right from the beginning of your life, then why not the funeral. There are several reasons that will make you think about planning your funeral in advance.

The funeral is psychologically ignited the sense of closure for the family & helps them to begin the healing process. Families feel good and relieved by honoring the lives of their loved ones with a fitting ceremony and proper send off.

Pre planning of funeral will ease the burden on your family. They will not get confused about what you would like for your funeral. Whether you wanted to be buried or cremated. All the things were pre planned already so the funeral will be flawless & satisfactory. If you want that your family will never get into problems with your funeral cost, then you can go with several funeral insurance and funeral trusts that will help you to cover your funeral cost effectively.

Also, pre planned funeral help you get all the things you wanted for your funeral. Like if you wanted to have a headstone, then you can plan to have it. Whether you want a music at your funeral or not, you can plan everything. It is just like that you planned funeral that you wanted and deserved.

Benefits of pre-planning funeral services:

There is the number of benefits to funeral pre-planning than we can count. Here are just a few:

  1. You can choose the way you will be remembered:  

Final arrangement or can say pre-planning of funeral gives a great chance to remember you in a way in which you want. The final arrangement of the funeral is offered the medium to make a smile over faces your loved one when they remembered you. When you make funeral pre-arrangements, you put your wishes on paper so that your loved ones will know exactly how to celebrate your life and honor your memory.

  1. You can protect your family from funeral costs:

Like most things, funeral costs tend to rise every year. That means that a funeral today will probably cost less than the same funeral three or four years from now. Paying for your funeral now can save your loved one’s money. With the help of pre-planning funeral services, you can reduce the burden the financial cost of your loved one.

  1. You’ll empower your family:

They will know exactly what needs to be done. That’s because you’ve taken all of the guesswork out of planning your funeral. When you pre-arrange your funeral, everyone got the benefits. You know that your wishes will be carried out and your loved ones know exactly how to honor you.

Pre- planning your funeral arrangements allows you to convey your last wishes to your near ones. Sometimes there are many things that you want to say to someone but due to lack of courage or your shyness, you can never tell them in your lifetime. Funeral Services helps you in writing those wishes for every particular person so that your last goodbyes are always conveyed to them.

Today the preplanning of funeral is a wise step to take. You have lived all your life with self dependency and have decided all good & bad for yourself.  Then why not your funeral? You deserve a well defined and memorable good bye. So don’t think twice on what you need to do. Just start planning your funeral.


Author Bio:

My name is Danny LeBlanc. I am the founder of Final Farewells. At Final Farewells I have done exactly that. Created a free service for all to use that gives each of us the last word when we depart from this beautiful earth. When we pass and bid our Final Farewells we should do this in a dignified manner that celebrates our life the way each of us want it to be celebrated. To know more, click:



Digital Estate Planning Concerns

Digital Estate Planning Concerns

If you have taken the time to create a will or any other instrument of estate planning, you are already better off than more than half of American adults. When drafting a will, most people consider most of their physical belongings along with investments or savings kept in the bank or at other financial institutions. Digital assets, however, often go overlooked, as many people do not even remember that they exist when they sit down to develop their estate plans. Some may not even know what digital assets are.

What Are Digital Assets?

Do you have a library of e-books from Amazon? What about a collection of songs from iTunes or apps from Google Play? These are some of the most common examples of digital assets. With the advancement of online technology, there are more types of digital assets today than ever before. In addition to e-books, programs, and music, digital assets also include pictures, data, visual designs, artwork, and online accounts for gaming, entertainment, and social media. If you have even one these types of assets—and since you are reading a blog right now, you probably do—it is important to develop a plan for dealing with them after your death.

Make a List

The first thing you should do is to create an inventory of all of your digital accounts, subscriptions, and assets. Be sure to include how to access each of them along with usernames, passwords, and security questions. You should also list any accounts that are setup for automatic payments, including credit cards, utilities, and any other bills that are paid online. This list can then be included in your estate plan and given directly to your chosen executor.

Make Advance Decisions

Once you know what you have, you can start to think about what should be done with your digital assets. Depending on the asset, there may be rules in place for what will happen to them upon your death. Songs and movies downloaded from iTunes, for example, may be transferred to surviving family member, but Apple does not guarantee that transfers will always be allowed. Similarly, social media sites offer different options for your account following your death, so be sure to review them and decide which is best for you. All such decisions should also be included in your estate plan.

We Can Help

If you have questions about what constitutes a digital asset and how to provide such assets in your estate plan, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning attorney. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.


(Digital) Money Matters – Why You Need to Account for Cryptocurrency in your Estate Plan

Though you probably can’t use them to buy groceries or a pair of jeans from Amazon, cryptocurrencies, if you happen to own them, merit careful consideration during the estate planning process. With the recent spike in value for select cryptocurrencies, making sure your digital assets are properly managed and able to be transferred in the case of a life-altering event has never been more important.


What are some examples of cryptocurrencies?

First developed in 2009 and currently trading at upwards of $7000, Bitcoin, a worldwide cryptocurrency and digital payment system, has dominated the vast cryptocurrency market. The transaction involved in bitcoin transfers occurs directly between payer and payee, without an intermediary; there is no physical representation of the currency and there is no central bank that regulates or processes transactions. Owners of bitcoin are issued a “wallet,” that contains the two required components for a transaction to occur: the bitcoin address and the private key one must enter to effectively transfer money to a different address. Unlike physical currency, ownership of bitcoins is not linked to a person, but a digital entity with a unique public address. Moreover, in a transaction, bitcoins are transferred from one address to another, and all transactions are recorded in a public ledger called a blockchain. Since its inception, competing cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin have also entered the market hoping to acquire some market share. Like Bitcoin, Litecoin is a digital, peer-to-peer cryptocurrency unmanaged by any central authority. Unlike Bitcoin, however, Litecoin claims to have almost zero payment cost and authorizes transactions almost four times as fast as Bitcoin. Released in 2011, Litecoin reached a market capacity of $1 billion in November of 2013 and over $2 billion by August of 2017.


How do I properly transfer my cryptocurrencies?


Similarly to other appreciating assets which you may own, such as a house, it is best to have a plan in case the worst ever comes to fruition. The same applies to cryptocurrencies, especially considering the unprecedented growth they’ve experienced in the last several years. Unlike real estate, digital currency cannot be transferred through a written will, and therefore it is essential to understand the necessary steps involved in planning the transfer of these assets.

With regard to estate planning, there are three fundamental steps for the effective transfer of Bitcoins: making beneficiaries knowledgeable of the assets, supplying them with the necessary means to access those assets, and keeping in mind the issue of relevant taxes when beneficiaries inherit them.


Step 1: Increasing Awareness


The first step is generally applicable to estate planning, regardless of the type of asset in question. If you wish to transfer real estate or other assets to friends or family, you need to inform them of the assets’ existence and of your current ownership over them. The same is especially true of digital assets, because the process of retrieving them is specific to cryptocurrency. Without a proper plan in place, you run the risk of easily losing valuable assets, so it is important that all potential beneficiaries are aware of their existence.


Step 2: Guaranteeing Access

One of the biggest challenges with transferring ownership of these digital assets is inherent in the anonymity of cryptocurrency. There is no central administration that overlooks or manages transactions, and therefore, the only individuals that can access Bitcoin assets of a deceased loved one are those with access to the information contained in the person’s Bitcoin wallet. Though a will cannot be used to transfer cryptocurrency, a written document can certainly be used to provide detailed instructions to loved ones on how to access an owner’s wallet. A similar option entails making copies of a wallet and distributing them to beneficiaries, who should, in turn, keep the entrusted document in a safe or another similarly secure location.

If you wish to distribute your assets among several beneficiaries, you can create a multiple-signature account that would require at least two private authentication keys to access them, and give a copy of your wallet to each beneficiary.


Step 3: Accounting for Taxes

As with all financial matters, the government will always be a supervising entity, especially when it comes to cases where taxes may be owed. Considering that the United States government once charged the creator of Bitcoin with developing a competing currency to the dollar, you can rest assured that the IRS has found some way to wet its beak in the inheritance of privately owned digital assets. In 2014, the IRS declared that cryptocurrency will not be treated as currency, but as property, for federal tax purposes (IRS Notice 2014-21). As a result, during a transaction, individuals are required to recognize ordinary or capital gains (or loss) between the current Fair Market Value (FMV), and the FMV of the assets at the time of purchase. When receiving payments via cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, payees must also report the respective receipts as gross income. A perk, or rather something that eases the tax burden of inherited cryptocurrency, is that upon inheritance, beneficiaries can be subject to lower capital gains taxes since the original value of the assets is readjusted to the market value upon inheritance (in the case that the assets have appreciated.)

Like with physical property, you may be able to further reduce your tax burden by placing your digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies, by placing them into designated trusts to transfer their ownership before your passing.  


If you happen to own intangible assets like Bitcoin, you need to make sure that you have an effective and detailed plan that will aid your loved ones in inheriting the assets in case the unthinkable happens. Given that the process of transferring digital currency is rather unconventional, it is important that you leave any intended beneficiaries with the necessary information to access your cryptocurrency, and plan wisely to reduce the tax burden on their shoulders.

When engaging in estate planning, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. For professional assistance in this matter, contact The Law Office of Inna Fershteyn and Associates, P.C. at 718-333- 2394 or visit our website and schedule your consultation today.


Digital Estate Planning Concerns

The Importance of End of Life Planning and how it Relates to Financial Stability — Don’t put the Burden on your Family

No matter what age you are in life, you are always going to be planning for the future. This is simply a part of our culture, and as we age, our future plans can seem gradually more attainable since everyone knows how inevitable future life events are. It’s always the safest route to be as prepared as possible.

Many people get caught up with planning their lives perfectly, their end of life plans can be put off and even seep through the cracks of their preparations until it’s too late. Some of the major legal documents everyone must consider in terms of end of life planning include things like a power of attorney and a living will. In general, end of life planning allows people to live out their final years of life with dignity and a lack of stress for themselves and their family members.

What is end of life planning?

End of life planning for many people can include retirement plans and all of the financial responsibilities throughout one’s career that go along with retirement. It also involves some very difficult decisions that can affect an elderly person’s family, both emotionally and financially for years.

Many times, end of life planning will entail making sure you and your family are on the same page legally and financially in the case that you one day become mentally incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself. This includes power of attorney and living will documents being created, but it also includes much more than that.

Planning your options for end-of-life care is also extremely important, and there are several options for care and how to pay for special treatments. Nursing homes always offer the most amount of around-the-clock skilled care outside of a hospital, and for certain individuals who need constant attention nursing homes can be a good option. Of course, many people don’t want to live in a nursing home and prefer living in their own home, but in many cases with terminally ill patient’s, special equipment and nursing care is required.

How does one go about end of life planning?

Some of the major steps that everyone should consider when it comes to end of life planning include the following:

Making a Will

This is the most basic document that goes into end of life planning, and it specifies exactly how you want your assets distributed once you’ve passed. If you do not make a will, your assets will be taken to probate court where they will decide how to divide your property according to your state’s inheritance laws.

Utilizing a Living Trust

A will is limited in terms of estate planning, thus it’s essential to also establish a living trust so you and your beneficiaries can manage your assets before and after you die without legal conflicts. Some of the assets that you can put in a living trust include stocks, artwork, vehicles, real estate, bank accounts, jewelry, antiques and much more.

Securing the Proper Beneficiaries

It’s important to make sure that your assets go to the right person with as little legal hassles as possible. One critical aspect of this part of the end of life planning process is to establish a right of survivorship in the case that you and your spouse have set up joint bank accounts. When you set up a right of survivorship your spouse receives your assets without any hassles in probate court.

Evaluating Insurance Options

Reviewing your life insurance is always necessary when it comes to your end of life planning, and that mainly is to ensure you have enough coverage for you or your spouse in the case of a sudden death. Long-term disability and care coverage are also important insurance options to consider since having these types of policies can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.

Why is it financially responsible to plan for death?

There are several reasons why it’s responsible to plan for your own death, and the main financial responsibilities that are involved with end of life planning include the following:

  • Protecting the financial stability of your family
  • Eliminating Probate Court/financial threats
  • Managing what you’ll do in the case of incapacitation

All three of these crucial financial responsibilities allow you and your family to encounter your passing properly, and that in it of itself is a beautiful last gift to give to all of your loved ones.