Many people in Florida may think primarily of writing a will to handle their real estate, bank accounts and other assets when they consider estate planning. Making this type of plan can be important for many reasons, providing peace of mind and structuring documents that ensure that people can direct their assets in line with their wishes. A proper plan can also help to ease the burden of court filings and administrative work for a grieving family. However, estate plans in the modern era also require thinking about different kinds of property, especially digital assets.
As people live more and more of their lives online, they rely on digital accounts to manage services, subscriptions and even their financial plans. Some assets essentially exist only in a digital form, such as cryptocurrency wallets or website domains. It is important to make an estate plan for traditional assets, but digital assets can be more important than ever.
In particular, people should think about how to ensure that their loved ones can access their digital assets in case of death or incapacity. One of the most important documents that can help people to do so is a handwritten list of usernames and passwords, stored in a secure and trusted place in hard copy, rather than on an internet-connected computer. However, loved ones may not be recognized as the authorized user, leaving them locked out and suspected of hacking. Florida passed a law, the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, in 2016 that allows people to designate a person for authorized access to accounts.
Designating a digital fiduciary can be an important part of a technology-aware estate plan. People thinking about the future might opt to consult with an estate planning attorney to prepare wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other documents that reflect their goals.