You may have seen the front-page article in the South Bend Tribune this past Thursday on planning for your digital assets should you pass away. Planning for digital assets is something the attorneys at Tuesley Hall Konopa have been addressing with our clients for some time now.
This element of planning is, as indicated by the AP article and the ULC endorsement it details, increasingly receiving national attention, a trend which will only continue as the gaps between state laws on the subject and individual tech companies’ respective policies come into greater contrast.
The AP article mentions several examples where courts have become involved in this new area of intersection between our personal and our digital lives. Several states, including Indiana, have responded in recent years with state laws seeking to provide a method for estates to effectively deal with digital assets. Please see my prior entry on Indiana’s law for digital assets in estates. Similar statutes have been proposed in Michigan in recent years, but have not yet become law.
However, these court cases highlight just how the patchwork system of state laws falls short of providing tech companies with a reliable framework on which to base their privacy policies. The Uniform Law Commission’s endorsement of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act is a great step towards closing that gap.
Companies will vary in their response to this approach, and there will assuredly be more court cases in the future, but families can, and should, give important consideration to their own digital asset planning. The more comprehensively you cover these topics in your estate plan, the better equipped your loved ones will be in the event of your passing. These are conversations we are having with our clients now, and we include language in estate planning the documents we prepare to cover these situations.
If you need to plan for your digital assets, the attorneys at Tuesley Hall Konopa have the knowledge and experience to help. Call 574.232.3538 for an appointment.
Author: Adam S. Russell is an estate planning attorney at Tuesley Hall Konopa, LLP. Practice areas include trust and estate planning, estate administration, tax planning, charitable planning, and charitable trusts, trust funding, special needs trusts and supplemental needs trusts, prenuptial agreements, and probate. Additionally, Adam is licensed to practice in both Indiana and Michigan and regularly meets with clients in our South Bend, Elkhart and Cassopolis offices.
You can contact Adam by calling 574.232.3538 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.