Include Access to Online Accounts in your Estate Plan: New Law Backs You

Businesswoman holding tablet pcDo you know what happens to your online accounts and other digital assets after you die? What happens to your Facebook profile, blog, digitally managed bank accounts, and so forth?

What if you were a writer whose latest manuscript is stored in the cloud and accessible only via online access? What if you owned a domain name that could be worth millions on the open market?

Historically, consumers have always had control over what happens to their tangible and intangible property after death, but the question of digital assets (including everything from digital photos and electronic documents to email, music, movies, social media accounts, and virtual currency), is a comparatively recent one.

A New Law Gives You Control

To help address this question and ensure that consumers have complete control over the disposition of their digital assets, Connecticut lawmakers have passed House Bill 5606 – An Act Concerning the Connecticut Revised Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.

Put simply, this act – which goes into effect on October 1, 2016 – gives you the ability to plan for the management and disposition of your digital assets by allowing you to define your wishes related to these assets in a will, trust, power of attorney, or by using online planning tools.

The bill helps bring the law up-to-date so it can adequately address issues of fiduciary access in cases of death or loss of legal capacity.

There have been a number of cases involving survivors who were unable to access a family member’s digital assets because the deceased had unwittingly forfeited the rights of their agents and executors by agreeing to a company’s standard terms of service. HB 5606 aims to rectify this oversight by ensuring that the legally documented wishes of the deceased supersede any terms of service.

 

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