Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning Science, Computers & Technology

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Estate Planning for Your Digital Assets

If you use a computer, you likely have digital assets that should be addressed as part of your estate planning. Access to digital assets is governed by an evolving and complicated technical and legal framework, including...more

Life After Death: No Longer Inconceivable

Recent legislation provides a framework for inheritance rights of children conceived after the death of one or both parents in very specific circumstances....more

Trustees Should Avoid Bitcoin

As bitcoin becomes increasingly popular, some are starting to ask: should trustees of trusts invest a portion of trust assets in bitcoin? There are very strong reasons why they should not. As I explain below, investing in...more

Estate Planning for the Digital Life

While individuals will eventually pass on, the internet is forever. Online accounts from games, apps and social media are becoming increasingly valuable. In an age of expanding online presence, estate planners and...more

Tax Policy Update

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: $23 Billion. The total revenue generated by the additional Medicare tax and the net investment income tax used to pay for the Affordable Care Act. The total exceeds the Joint Committee on Taxation’s 2010...more

What happens to your online digital accounts at death?

More online digital companies are providing users the ability to control what happens to their accounts after death. For example, Facebook now allows you to name a “legacy contact” to manage your Facebook page after...more

Who Will Update My Status When I’m Dead?: The Biggest Social Media Platforms’ Policies on Deceased-User Accounts

It’s often said that, when it comes to regulating technology, U.S. laws aren’t up to speed. That includes U.S. trusts and estates laws, which, in many cases, do not say much about what happens to your digital assets after you...more

"The Estate Planner" – March/April 2015

In this issue: - Second Trip Down The Aisle? – Update Your Estate Plan To Reflect Your Second Marriage - 21st Century Estate Planning For Digital Assets - Planning For Aging Parents – 5 Tips For The...more

Facebook Takes a Step Forward for Digital Afterlife

Late last week Facebook released several new features that will aid in the management of a user’s account after the user’s death. While there has been little notification of these features on Facebook itself, the new features...more

Facebook Allows Users to Designate "Legacy Contact"

Access to digital assets following an individual's death continues to be a hot topic, and once again has made the news. This time, Facebook has announced a new feature called a "Legacy Contact." Essentially, this is the...more

Appointing a Legacy Contact for a Facebook Account After Death

Facebook now allows you to appoint a “legacy contact” for your Facebook account after you die. Previously, after a user died, Facebook would not allow anyone else to access or modify the deceased user’s Facebook account, but...more

Video Clip: Family Fights to Access Late Son’s Digital Data

Minnesota’s KSTP-TV Eyewitness News ran a video story on January 20, 2015, by Tom Hauser about the Anderson family who tragically lost their nineteen-year-old son, Jake. Their son’s death was ruled accidental, but the family...more

Keeping a Secure List of Passwords, Online Accounts, and Digital Property

An important part of a comprehensive estate plan (planning ahead for incapacity and death) is preparing a complete list of your passwords, online accounts, and other digital property—and keeping it up to date. This list helps...more

HIPAA Considerations In The Event Of Employee Death or Incapacitation

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, otherwise known as HIPAA, acts in part to provide federal protection for identifiable health information retained by covered entities, which includes most...more

Managing Your Online Presence after Death

As we become an increasingly technology-dependent society, so much of what we do is online. Between email, Facebook, photos, music and documents stored online or in the cloud, most of us will have built a considerable online...more

Wealth Management Update - November 2014

November Interest Rates for GRATs, Sales to Defective Grantor Trusts, Intra-Family Loans and Split Interest Charitable Trusts - The November Section 7520 rate for use with estate planning techniques such as CRTs, CLTs,...more

Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Accounts

Traditionally, a person’s most valuable assets to be distributed upon death consisted of tangible items such as real property, cash, jewelry and personal effects of sentimental value like photographs and letters. However, the...more

Video Clip: Family Wants Access to Son’s Digital Data After Death

Minnesota’s KMSP-TV Fox 9 News ran a video story on September 9, 2014, by Ted Haller about a family wanting access to their deceased nineteen-year-old son’s digital data. They have been seeking access to his text messages,...more

Delaware Enacts Law Governing Access To Digital Records After Death

On August 12, Delaware Governor Jack A. Markell signed the Digital Access and Digital Accounts Act, the first law in the nation to comprehensively govern access to a person’s digital assets, including social media and email...more

Delaware Enacts Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

On August 12, 2014, Delaware’s governor signed into law the Delaware Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which is based on an earlier draft of the recently-approved Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Asset Act....more

Delaware Grants Access to Social Media After Death

Delaware has become the first state to enact the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (the "Act") The Uniform Law Commission describes the act as a law "that will vest fiduciaries with at least the authority to...more

Status Updates - August 2014 #10

..Death in the digital age. When someone dies, his or her heirs or executor will have broad rights to access the deceased person’s letters, documents and other physical assets. Delaware has just become the first state to...more

Status Updates - July 2014 #9

..According to a current study by Bank of America, Americans are very closely attached to their smartphones. Of those surveyed, 85 percent said they check their phone at least a few times a day and 35 percent say they check...more

Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA)

On July 16, 2014, the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) was passed by the Uniform Law Commission. My colleague Gene Hennig and I originally proposed this uniform law in May of 2011, and I’m very happy...more

Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Traditionally, estate planning provides for the transfer of your assets through a will or a trust. These documents name an executor or trustee, respectively, to handle your affairs after your death, including the transfer of...more

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