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Florida Passes New Digital Asset Estate Planning Law

A bill signed into law by Governor Rick Scott this March, SB 494, will make it much easier for individuals in Florida to plan what happens to their digital assets, accounts and information when they die.

Traditionally, it has been difficult to deal with online accounts after the creator’s death. Some companies limit access to the original account holder and have no procedure to turn the account over to family members or other trusted individuals. While this may simply be an inconvenience for families trying to close or modify the deceased person’s social media accounts, it can be a major burden when online banking accounts or financial information is involved. Access to this information can be essential for probating a will and settling an estate.

Under the new law, Floridians can specify which person or persons they want to be able to access their internet accounts after they pass away.  The law requires those taking advantage of it to leave specific instructions and explicit consent related to particular accounts and access, helping to prevent privacy violations. Those trusted with account information are only allowed to use it for the purposes permitted in the deceased person’s declaration.

In addition to giving someone access to online accounts, a person creating this type of plan could allow access to emails, online documents, photographs, work products and other assets. In a world where our media, memories, and creations are increasingly stored in the cloud, online assets can have significant financial and emotional value.

For help learning how to protect your digital assets and make sure that they can be passed to your family after you are gone, speak with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney at the Charles Law Offices.

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