When it comes to estate planning, we often focus on physical assets like life insurance, savings accounts, property, and investments, forgetting that our digital assets are important too. Recently, New Jersey passed the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Access Act, a law that has an important impact on your estate planning. Here’s what you need to know, from an estate planning attorney in New Jersey.
What Is the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Access Act?
This new law empowers individuals to determine what level of access heirs and next of kin can have to their digital assets when they die. Previously, this was determined by each digital company’s individual policies, but now the choice is in your hands. Essentially, this means you can decide whether or not your next of kin can access your social media accounts, email accounts, and other online accounts after your passing.
This Act also prioritizes online tools that digital services providers allow users to set personally through their platforms. So, it’s important to not only make your wishes clear in your estate plan, but also your accounts. For example, Facebook has a legacy feature that lets you choose a designated person who will be able to access your account when you die. And, this will override any other executor in this particular area, including your Last Will and Testament.
Why Is it Important to Include Digital Assets in Estate Planning?
As the world and our lives become more digital, these assets have become more and more important and powerful, making including them in your estate plan increasingly critical. While this may not be so important for, say, your social media accounts, access to email accounts has had a far-reaching impact on probate and estate processes.
It has cost plaintiffs years of costly litigation in a number of states as people struggle to gain access into email accounts in order to access statements, information, and protocols to unlock and utilize physical accounts that require management through the estate. This Act is designed to both prevent this type of litigation and speed up the process of distributing estates to heirs and loved ones.
Comprehensive Physical and Digital Estate Planning in New Jersey
Frank R. Campisano is an experienced estate planning attorney with a long history of service and loyalty to his New Jersey clients. In addition to assisting you with creating, storing or updating your Last Will and Testament, he can assist you with 529 plans, college savings strategies, developing trusts, healthcare proxies, Power of Attorney documentation, and much more.