Digital assets. You know, your digital life? These assets range from things such as social networking accounts and digital photo galleries to financial-related digital assets like electronic tax returns and online banking information, etc. Essentially, it is the information you store electronically.

Since digital assets can get a little broad, let’s condense this “study” session to social media and emails.

The Terms of Service agreement for mostly all digital service providers includes a statement that user passwords and information are not shared. So, what happens to your Facebook and Instagram accounts after you pass? What about your Gmail account?

Let’s look.

On Facebook, you can designate a legacy contact to manage your account after you’ve passed. They can do things like pinning a farewell message to your profile or letting your friends know the details of the memorial service. Your designated person can also respond to friend requests, update your profile, and cover photos, decide who can see your feed and who can post tributes, among other things. But their authority is limited. He or she won’t be able to read your messages, log into your account, or delete friends. Alternatively, you can arrange from your account to be deleted upon passing.

Instagram, owned by Facebook, has similar features and procedures when it comes to memorializing accounts. Like Facebook, your family can request the deletion of your account or have it memorialized; however, Instagram doesn’t allow you to choose a legacy contact. You’ll have to leave detailed instructions to your loved ones to have your account deleted or memorialized. To do so, he or she needs to submit proof of your passing and proof of authority under local law that the person who is attempting to delete your account is a lawful representative of you or your estate. If you choose to memorialize an account, it can’t be changed or altered in any way.

And, what about your google email? You can set up an authorized representative, called the Inactive Account Manager, to obtain the contents of your Gmail account. This allows you to specify a period of inactivity, and after you can specify the disposition of your various accounts (Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, Photos, Plus, etc.) Having an Inactive Account Manager is a way for users to share parts of their account data or notify someone if they’ve been inactive for a certain period.

So, after reading all of this, what’s your plan of action? We suggest that everyone creates a Private Personal Information Profile or what we like to call a PPIP. This is an organized document that contains a person’s information that their families and loved ones will require after their passing or incapacitation. We believe this is one of the five (5) most important documents that every person needs, and because of this, we have provided a free guide here.

Don’t wait to get started. Create your PPIP today and contact us to get your estate planning in order so that you can also plan for your digital assets.

 

 

*This article is provided as educational information, not legal advice. Our law firm makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. The distribution or acceptance of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship with our law firm.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been discussing wills on Facebook Live, so you may be wondering how much more can I say. August is National Make a Will Month, and in case you have missed my live broadcasts, I don’t want to miss this opportunity to stress its importance to anyone who is still on the fence.

Let’s breakdown what a will is and what it does. A will is a legal document that is used to transfer assets at death. It states who you want to receive your assets after you die, names the person you select to make decisions for you when you pass, and name who’s in charge of your probate estate -this person is called your Personal Representative or Executor.

A will can also name a guardian for your underage children, and do other things such as waiver limitations on what your estate can pay for your funeral and court requirements for personal representative bond.

While this is all valuable information, let’s dig a little deeper.

Here are five (5) things having a Will can accomplish:

1) Ease the burden of a difficult time.

We all know losing a loved one is hard. The last thing anyone wants to deal with during this time is possibly arguing with family members over belongings and property. Having a Will keeps your loved ones from having to deal with that extra trouble during times of grievance. 

 

2) Minimize estate taxes.

Another reason to have a will is that it allows you to minimize your estate taxes. The value of what you give away to family members or charity will reduce the value of your estate when it’s time to pay estate taxes.

 

3) Gifting and donating to organizations of your choice 

Most people only think of wills in terms of family and friends, but you can also plan to give to a cause that is important to you.

 

4) Controls who receive your assets 

Whether it’s money, a car, or even furniture, you should decide who receives your belongings after you die, not the state. The state never considers those not related to you, like close friends or mentors, as you would in your planning. Often the biggest family fights are not over money, but that special vase or serving dish; tangible items that carry sentimental value. Your will instructs who gets your collections, your jewelry, or whatever to cut down on family conflicts. A Will ensures your loved ones receive the assets when you want and how you want.

 

5) Tomorrow is not promised 

Procrastination (outside of fear) is the most common reason for not having a will. Far too often, people (or their loved ones) realize the necessity of a will too late – such as when an unexpected death or disability occurs. As I like to say, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. It is always best to be prepared.

While there are more than five reasons that you should have a Will created, this is a great start. And what better time to start than during make a Will month, am I right?

 

Contact us today to get started:  www.HendersonLaw4God.com/contact-us

 

*This article is provided as educational information, not legal advice. Our law firm makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. The distribution or acceptance of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship with our law firm.

 

If you’ve been keeping up with our firm, then you’re no stranger to our style: we love our stories, and we love educating our friendmly (that’s you, our friends who we consider as our family).

 

So, let’s talk about HIPAA, aka The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a federal law that protects your health care privacy and prevents disclosure of health care information to unauthorized people.  Need a story? We thought so too. Here are three fictional scenarios that highlight the importance of this estate planning tool.

 

First, let’s meet Betty. A middle-aged woman who was tragically involved in a hit and run accident. Betty was left severely injured at the scene and was admitted to the hospital. The hospital informed her children of her location but, upon their arrival, the hospital could not disclose any details regarding their mother’s condition or prognosis. This is because Betty did not have a HIPAA Authorization. With the HIPAA Authorization, Betty could have given authorization for the release of her healthcare information to her children, and the hospital would have disclosed her prognosis with them. But, instead, they are left with unanswered questions and heavy hearts regarding the condition of their mom.

 

Whew. How tragic for Betty’s family. That story didn’t sink in the importance of the HIPAA Authorization? Let’s read a page from 19-year-old Jacob’s journal.

 

“My mom always told me to stop speeding, but I didn’t listen. I am in college now; I’m practically a grown man! But I guess I still lack some sense of responsibility. One night I recklessly crashed my vehicle on the freeway, leaving me unconscious at the scene, and a few of my friends injured. We were all taken to the nearest hospital, where my friends informed my parents about our location. Because I did not have something called a HIPAA Authorization Form, the hospital could not legally disclose anything about my prognosis with my parents. I wish someone would have told me about this sooner. Mom and dad were so worried.”

 

We wish someone would have told you too, Jacob.

 

Next on our storytime extravaganza, we have Ken and Ashley. An unmarried couple with one child. Unfortunately, Ashley and their daughter Symone were involved in an accident and rushed to the hospital. When Ken arrives, he wants the know the condition of both his child and girlfriend. He can get information regarding his daughter because she is under the age of 18 but, because Ashley did not have a HIPAA Authorization, Ken is not informed about her condition due to federal law.

 

So, friends, you have the advantage. You’ve just been educated on the importance of the HIPAA Authorization before you even need it. Please don’t waste any more time and contact our office to begin your estate planning process. We’re here to help.

 

Don’t be like Betty, Jacob, Ashley, or so many others. Be at peace and grant your family peace by knowing that your affairs are in place.

 

*This article is provided as educational information, not legal advice. Our law firm makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. The distribution or acceptance of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship with our law firm.