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  • Writer's pictureCook Tillman

Preserving digital assets in your estate plan

You may have made a comfortable living from your popular food blog. You may also own a substantial amount in cryptocurrency holdings. Lastly, you may store a large amount of your personal information online, from your various social media accounts to your photos and videos saved online.

The reality of today is that you likely have at least some of your personal information, accounts, records or more stored online. Your estate plan may meticulously account for your plans to transfer your Nashville home, vehicle, wealth, prized art collection and more to loved ones. However, what happens to your digital assets?

What Tennessee law states

Adopted in 2016, Tennessee’s Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) eases the process for fiduciaries to gain access to deceased loved ones’ accounts and honors privacy agreements between users and companies. The act follows the steps below:

  1. Check for wishes specified through an online tool. Internet service providers like Facebook and Google give users the option to specify wishes for their accounts.

  2. Check for wishes specified in an estate planning document. Next, the act gives priority to wishes specified in a will or power of attorney document.

  3. Check the terms of service agreements. If either option above falls short, the next step is to check whether terms of service agreements specify instructions for the account.

When these three options fail to specify plans for access to the accounts, fiduciaries may then be able to gain access. However, such access can have limitations. In some cases, the fiduciary may have to contact the service provider directly to obtain even a copy of the account.

Easing the process to preserve your digital assets

The easiest way to ensure your loved ones gain access to your digital assets is to document your wishes early on. First, take stock of all your digital assets: your email accounts, social media accounts, rewards points, bank accounts, photo and video storage, domain names, cryptocurrencies and more. Then, address your wishes for each account while considering possible privacy restrictions or barriers.

By including digital assets in your estate plan, you can preserve your online assets of monetary or sentimental value and ease the process for loved ones to gain access. Staying organized by using a secure password manager, routinely updating all information and informing your loved ones of where to find necessary information can minimize uncertainty after death.


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