Effective estate planning should also include the protection of your digital assets, such as files stored on your website and other sites, your photos on Facebook, documents on your flash drive, your ecommerce accounts such as PayPal, e-bay, and your ITunes account. Appointing a digital representative formally in a will or trust, as well as informally giving your passwords to a trusted friend or family member are ways you can protect your digital assets should you become incapacitated or pass away. This way you can preserve your sentimental assets such as wedding photos, graduations, anniversaries, birthdays and other family events for your heirs and beneficiaries, and they will be able to also inherit your digital financial accounts.
Legal Agreements with Internet Service Providers and Privacy Regulations
The laws regarding access to your digital financial accounts after you pass away are complicated. Current laws provide that Internet companies that provide storage for digital assets are prohibited from giving your passwords or information about your account to your executor or personal representative without the formalities of obtaining a court order from the Nassau County or Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court. They may consider the unauthorized access of your account as a Cybercrime.
Most people don’t realize that Facebook’s service agreement prohibits the access of information regarding your account even with a court order. If you have photos and family members posted on your Facebook account, you should post them somewhere else where your family can get access to them so they don’t lose the memories after your death. It is important to investigate a company’s policy before you sign on with them so you know how to protect your assets.
Safeguarding Assets and Digital Accounts
It is recommended that you safeguard all your assets, including your digital assets, by having a list of all your assets in a safe place that can be accessed by your personal representative or family. A safe deposit box is one such place. Or you may want to deliver the list for safekeeping with your Long Island probate and estate attorney.
Any assets that are in your sole name are subject to New York probate laws, but assets that you transfer to your trust are exempt from probate. Your family will be able to avoid probate of your estate if you transfer assets to your trust, hold assets jointly or have a named beneficiary.
Hiring a Long island Probate and Estate Attorney
A Long island probate and estate attorney can help you incorporate your digital assets into your estate plan making it easier for your heirs to acquire them after your death. This way, they won’t be lost out in the web somewhere where your beneficiaries don’t know about. A Long Island probate and estate attorney can handle all your estate planning needs. A Long Island probate and estate attorney also represents executors, beneficiaries and other interested parties to an estate with routine probate matters, estate litigation and estate tax matters.
If you wish to speak to a Long Island estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (516) 777-0647.