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Sharing The Music

Our friends at The Digital Beyond have offered up another gem for contemplation.

The website – mylastsoundtrack.com has a very unique idea, offering the opportunity of memorializing yourself in music.

If you love music, or perhaps have a fondness for only certain music, whether it is ‘the oldies’, hip hop, classical, rock and roll, or the sound of the big bands – you can let others know something about the music you love.

Celebrate your life with music and let others know what songs matter to you.

“Where words leave off, music begins.”              ― Heinrich Heine

Working to Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

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Digital Assets and Access to Your Digital Life

 I have previously written about digital assets and what happens with those assets when a person dies.  (See my Archived articles under ‘Digital Inheritance”.)

 For a long time, states have sought to provide legislation concerning who might have access to a person’s digital assets (after death).

(Here…We should discriminate between digital assets (which may have value) and tweets, texts and emails to your BFFs, which may have value in your eyes, but do not have intrinsic value as an “asset”.)

According to the * Uniform Code Commission (www.uniformlaws.org) there are 17 states in 2017 that have forms of proposed legislation to address digital assets and the access to those assets. 

The legislation varies widely, which indicates how complex such legislation can be.  There is even some proposed legislation that has been “in the works” for over five years.  Some states have adopted the recommendations of the Uniform Code Commission. 

 One major issue surrounding digital assets is –  To what degree a fiduciary will be able to access/control/oversee/manage the digital assets of the person they represent.  To begin we should clarify – What is a Fiduciary?  The term includes in most cases –but not limited to – trustees, personal representatives, executors, those named as power of attorney (agents) and conservators.

 In brief, a fiduciary is a person(s) appointed to manage the property of another person.  Fiduciaries act under strict guidelines and their duty is to act in the other person’s best interest.

 Digital assets may include things of significant value (bit coin accounts; on- line financial account; mileage award accounts; on-line investment accounts; copyrighted material including publications and music to name just a few.)    

 Many states have not yet instituted formal legislation about access to digital assets.  Oher states are attempting to formulate legislation about the control of digital assets.

 To quote the uniform laws website:

 “The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (Revised UFADAA) modernizes fiduciary law for the Internet age…” and

 “UFADAA provides legal authority for fiduciaries to manage digital assets in accordance with the user’s estate plan, while protecting a user’s private communications from unwarranted disclosure.”

You can read more about the UFADAA via the uniform laws website.  The Act attempts to provide all states with a uniform code that provides a single legal standard of compliance.

* The ULC (Uniform Law Commission) is a nonprofit formed to create nonpartisan state legislation.

 As digital information grows, the significance of digital assets and how to protect them will increase.  Digital assets is quickly growing as an important facet of estate planning.

 Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

 Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

 Visit my website:  www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more articles and interesting infographics

 

Sharing The Music

Our friends at TheDigital Beyond have offered up another gem for contemplation.

The website – thelastsoundtrack.com is a very unique idea, offering the opportunity of memorializing yourself in music.

If you love music, or perhaps have a particular fondness for certain music, whether it is ‘the oldies’, hip hop, classical, rock and roll, or the sound of the big bands – you can let others know something about the music you love.

Also on the website is a unique article about the green burial suit – another fascinating peek into alternative funeral planning.

Celebrate your life and let others know what matters to you.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website:  http://www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more articles and interesting printable infographics

High Tech Headstones

Reviewing my previous blogs and other articles I came across an interesting concept from our friends at The Digital Beyond.

In previous articles I have written about the importance of a person’s digital legacy. (See my website:  www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com – sidebar Digital Legacy)

Now, it seems that it is possible to share digital information on your headstone. Remember, this is not an idea that will appeal to everyone! But might appeal to the millennial generation, those more accustomed to sharing everything!

According to The Digital Beyond author, Robert Bruce *, who wrote about “gravestone technology” – it is possible to “update” your headstone with a television monitor that plays a series of tributes.  Granted, this idea never really caught on.  However, the high tech industry has another offering … the capability to insert a QR code into a headstone/memorial.

Note:  QR is short of Quick Response Code.  It is those small square barcodes one sees more often in stores or online.  By using a smartphone to ‘read’ the QR, one can access information through the machine readable code.  (Pardon to all ‘techies’ for the simplistic explanation)

This type of ‘gravestone technology’ allows for a person to remain ‘connected’ with family and friends and continue their legacy beyond their death.

Living Headstones is a firm offering this high tech QR codes for tombstones.

In another article**, it is noted: “ Companies that sell QR codes on headstones must strike a balance between providing a means of embedding and circulating knowledge while restricting the general public’s access to personal information about the dead.”

Whatever your emotions about the ‘digitization’ and privacy issues of a loved one’s headstone (Arlington Cemetery had chosen not to provide QR codes on headstones) the technology is available, but it may not be everyone’s choice.

Discuss your future wishes with family members.

 

* “Robert Bruce has a passion for lending his voice towards multiple issues involving the funeral and memorial industry. When he’s not working with Great Lakes Caskets, he enjoys his hobby as a writer.”

** The Atlantic, May 21 2014 – Technology. QR Codes for the Dead by Tamara Kneese

 

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

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Privacy of Your Digital Data After Death

I have previously written about a person’s ‘digital afterlife’. Visit my website  www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com and go the archives of digital inheritance, digital executor and digital legacy for those articles.

There is an ever-increasing volume of information that is retained in digital format within a person’s online accounts and the amount of that personal data is increasing exponentially. This goes far beyond our email and gmail accounts.  There are records of personal telephone contacts; bank account information/transactions and other financial accounts like stock trading accounts; shopping accounts; postings; bitcoin accounts; online searches and a myriad of other data that lives on after a person’s death.

Legislation is being developed to give direction of what can and should happen to a person’s digital accounts, particularly those accounts that have a monetary value. But, legislation is lagging behind both the technology and the shear amount of digital data to be explored.

The question is how to balance privacy with the need of beneficiaries (and those handling a deceased person’s estate) to know what is important in the mixed bag  of digital data.

When developing an estate plan, the importance of the digital hereafter is taking an increased role. Who do you want to have access to the digital information and how much of that information will you allow access?  How comfortable are you to have your digital accounts perused by a family member or professional executor?

According to our friends at The Digital Beyond: “An online directive assists in eliminating the feelings that can be associated with the handling of web accounts. A shocking number of people, 65%, state that there would a sense of violation should their family members have complete access to every aspect of their accounts.” *

On the positive side – this dialogue has provided incentive to people to think seriously about their digital legacy.

As the article queries: “Imagine, the idea of one person having complete access to every action you’ve ever performed online.”

* To read the entire article go to http://www.thedigitalbeyond.com and reference the interesting article:  “Privacy Afterlife Preferences: The People Have Spoken” by Evan Carroll (August 15, 2016)

Factoid from The Digital Beyond – “972,000 U.S.Facebook users will die in 2016” (Read more on the digital beyond website.)

Working to Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website: www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more articles and interesting infographics

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Legacy Tools

I have previously written about leaving a digital legacy and how digital assets can become incorporated into Estate and Legacy Planning. As the internet of things continues to evolve, use of data will be certain to evolve also.

From our Friends at The Digital Beyond:  comes a new article about an online digital legacy tool –

Loggacy: Enabling You to Record Your Legacy (Posted: 12 Jun 2016 10:00 PM PDT)

From the Digital Beyond website:  “The emergence of online digital legacy tools, that provide us with the opportunity to record our lives online and leave an everlasting legacy, provide a meaningful solution to the aforementioned conundrum concerning ‘immortality’.

Loggacy is one such digital legacy tool; founded with the intention of connecting generations of family and friends so that our most precious memories and experiences may be preserved perpetually.

From the Loggacy website (www.loggacy.com)  “Loggacy connects generations; enabling users the opportunity to share their experiences and memories with their loved ones on both a safe and secure digital platform.”

Share, Reflect and Never Be Forgotten

According to the founders of Loggacy:  The site offers control over your digital legacy by allowing you to share that legacy with only those you choose – or..if you so choose, you can make your legacy very public, the choice is yours.

Loggacy is evolving and I offer no opinions about its free offer to sign up.  The offer is intriguing, as is the concept of digital immortality.

Again, after reading the Loggacy information, the choice will be yours.

At the very least it might lead people to think about their digital assets.

 

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my Full Disclaimer and “How I Can Help You”

Visit my website: www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more articles and interesting infographics

 

Your Digital Data and the Uniform Law Commission

I have written several blogs/posts about the increasing importance of an individual’s digital inheritance (Managing Your Digital Legacy-Feb.2015; Take Stock of Your Digital Data-Nov.2014 and High Tech Advanced Directives-May, 2014)

Our friends at The Digital Beyond (www.thedigitalbeyond.com) published another very informative article (posted Sept. 26, 2015) about recent proposals of the Uniform Laws Commission (ULC) regarding digital assets.

First I should explain about the work of the Uniform Laws Commission. You can access their website via www.uniformlaws.org. A brief description of the Commission from their website is:

“The Uniform Law Commission (ULC, also known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws), established in 1892, provides states with non-partisan, well-conceived and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law.”

An interesting point is that the ULC Commissioners donate their time and receive no compensation for their work. The ULC itself is a state supported organization.

“It must be emphasized that the ULC can only propose—no uniform law is effective until a state legislature adopts it.”

Now that we know something about the ULC we can look at some of the specifics of the “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (2015)” (UFADAA). One important point is to define the term fiduciary.

According to The Digital Beyond posting and the ULC: “A fiduciary is a person appointed to manage the property of another person, subject to strict duties to act in the other person’s best interest. Common types of fiduciaries include executors of a decedent’s estate, trustees, conservators, and agents under a power of attorney”

This is an excellent general description of the term fiduciary and I have written in the past about the explicit duties of executors of estates as they relate to estate planning and probate.

You can read the exact language of the UFADAA on the ULC website, but a brief synopsis:

“This act extends the traditional power of a fiduciary to manage tangible property to include management of a person’s digital assets. The act allows fiduciaries to manage digital property like computer files, web domains, and virtual currency, but restricts a fiduciary’s access to electronic communications such as email, text messages, and social media accounts unless the original user consented in a will, trust, power of attorney, or other record.”

Thus, a fiduciary may be empowered to manage specific digital assets similarly to tangible assets (although this is a very simplified explanation of the UFADAA.)

It appears that the proposed UFADAA has gone far to clarify the position of fiduciaries in enabling them to manage digital property. However, note that recommendations explicitly restrict access to emails, text messages and social media accounts unless the deceased has consented to access in a legal document such as a will, trust, power of attorney, or other legal document.

If you have digital assets of any form, a review of your will, trust, power attorney and other legal documents is advised to incorporate the language of consent. This is particularly true of digital accounts which have “value” to your heirs and decedents. An example of this would be a website that generates income.

A word about The Digital Beyond – founded by John Romano and Evan Carroll who have written numerous books; give presentations and offer thought-provoking articles about the ‘digital afterlife.’

Working to Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World”

Please read my Full Disclaimer and “How I Can Help You”

Visit my website: www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more postings/blogs, infographics and bio.

Take Stock of Your Digital Data

Words like digital executor, digital legacy, digital assets and digital heir are creeping into our vocabulary and into our communal psyche. One might assume that your digital data includes your on line ID’s, subscription accounts, pass codes, emails, stock accounts, as well as your collection of iTunes and your entire social media persona. One of the reasons that the topic has not come to the forefront sooner, perhaps, is that the “Baby Boomers” have had less of a digital footprint than later generations. Whatever the reason, there is fast approaching the time when we will face the legal issues of what happens to our digital data, our digital legacy, our digital inheritance after our death. As one person commented, a few more generations and they will not know what “paper” is!

In years gone by, inheritance involved “tangible” property, the “immoveable” things such as a house or land, as well as collections of heirloom objects and objects of art.
Later, the inheritance of “intangibles” such as bank accounts, shareholder accounts, and copyrights became paramount.

The Sept. 9, 2102 article in USA Today Tech by Roger Yu titled – Digital Inheritance Remains Murky..is a vastly interesting article discussing, among other digital data, the legal aspects of the “inheritance” of iTunes. One can see that the “murkiness” of who actually owns digital data has not cleared much since 2012. If you have spare time, read the “agreement” of your Twitter, Facebook, iTunes and other on-line accounts to find out how much you “own” or do not “own”.

If one were to assign a digital executor…what can that person actually do with the deceased’s accounts? Well, that depends on whom you ask. Ask Twitter or Facebook, and they are likely to respond…not much.

Powers of the digital executor …Can a digital executor: ???

Delete documents/accounts/social media?
Transfer documents/accounts/social media?
Access photo albums – store, delete, print?
Access emails – (do you really want anyone else to read what you wrote one day about aggravating Aunt Alicia???
Manage documents/accounts/social media? (keeping them “alive” so to speak. This would include that blog that you have written for a few years).

Regarding your Digital Legacy – what and how much do you really want your family to know about your digital “escapades”?

One significant Question: Why should an email be treated differently than a paper letter that you have saved?
Another point that has been made is that the third party, i.e., the person the deceased has communicated with, has the right to privacy. By accessing the deceased’s accounts, particularly emails, the privacy of that third party is jeopardized. A hypothetical situation… If the deceased had communicated with someone else concerning an illegal activity, then that person is jeopardized when the “digital executor” finds out about the communication. Will the “digital executor” then have the legal/moral responsibility to report the communication/illegal activity to authorities?

Thus, we can see that the matter of digital inheritance is a complex issue. Interestingly, the topic of digital assets is more often seen in “techie” magazines than legal ones.

In August, 2014 the state of Delaware became first state to begin to grapple with the issue and give executors broad digital assets access. The decision is broader than previous state decisions. You can read more about the Delaware decision and the varying viewpoints in the lucid article by Cyrus Farivar (August 18, 2014) in Ars Technica on-line magazine. The Delaware Act is titled: Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act. According to the Ars article, “Earlier this year, the Uniform Law Commission, a non-profit group that lobbies to enact model legislations across all jurisdictions in the United States, adopted its Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA). Delaware is the first state to take the UFADAA (Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act) and turn it into a bona fide law.”

Social media providers have concerns with both the UFADDA and the Delaware law.

Will other states follow with their versions of digital inheritance? Apparently, Idaho, Nebraska and Indiana have limited versions of the law. I wait to be corrected on that point! Things change very rapidly in the digital world!

Some wise advice would be:

Take stock of all your digital data on a regular basis.
Keep accounts and password changes up- to- date.
Delete those accounts that are no longer relevant to you.
Try to delete emails that you might not want anyone else to read in the future. (Although we all hear that deleting data is more difficult than merely hitting the delete button!)
Keep a record of pass codes and passwords in a safe place and advise someone you trust about where they are kept.
If you are concerned about your digital legacy, keep appraised to changes in your state’s digital inheritance legislation.

And finally…give a thought to your “digital inheritance”. It is far broader than you might have believed.

Please read my disclaimer at the bottom of this page and also refer to my column “How I Can Help You”