Messer & Messer Law Offices

Toll-Free 866-789-9936

Florida 772-204-0904

Protecting your digital assets

When most people hear the phrase "estate planning," they typically envision drafting wills and trusts for matters of an earthly estate. As more and more individuals create friendships, build databases and develop marketplaces online, however, the concept of protecting of one's property now extends from the tangible to the digital realm. In the past, such attempts to access online accounts by family members of the deceased were prevented by guidelines established by host companies. Such restrictions hampered executors from opening emails, paying bills or collecting money for business conducted via the internet.

For many Floridians, however, many of those restrictions are no more. As of March 2016, the state of Florida recognizes the right of executors to gain admittance to online assets. Known as the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, this law allows Floridians to manage their digital "property" and give those authorized the right to access this online information after the account holder dies. The regulation was adapted to apply the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to the needs of Floridians.

1. The benefits of this legislation

This new law allows account holders to manage their assets. These individuals can control what happens to their accounts after their deaths, whether they choose to destroy, bequeath or save these accounts.

The statute gives the executor of the estate the right to access computer databases and information stored in the cloud. Previous to the law's passing, an executor could be accused of violating an account provider's Terms of Agreement if he obtained access to an account using the password of the deceased.

2. Impact of this new legislation

Having secured the necessary documents, fiduciaries can now gain permission to review certain electronic records: electronic communication, pictures or documents placed onto websites, and information stored in the cloud or on hard drives. The accessed information can then be shared with the decedent's family members for sentimental or financial benefit.

Individual states have passed their own versions of the UFADAA, so statutes vary. If you are concerned that your out-of-state benefactors may be impacted by Florida's statutes on digital assets, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney familiar with the legislation. You know it's important to protect your physical assets; now it's time to pay attention to your digital property as well.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information