New Law Allows Floridians to Choose Who Handles Their Digital Assets After Death
Florida recently enacted a law that will allow families to access the digital assets of a loved one after they die or become incapacitated. This law, known as the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, will allow a person to designate one or more people — family members, friends or an attorney — to be given access to their online accounts and assets once that person has passed away.
It’s become increasingly common for people to have multiple online accounts — for banking, email, social interactions and even their work. And while some companies have policies that allow for access or closure of these accounts upon the death of their owner, reaching online companies can be difficult, and repeatedly having to prove that someone died can be painful and time-consuming. This law is intended to be a step toward making that process easier.
There are many reasons why a family would wish to access their loved one’s account after they die:
- Notifying the deceased person’s online contacts about the death
- Avoiding constant reminders and notifications about the deceased person
- Accessing the deceased person’s online property, assets and documents
- Protecting financial information and credit card numbers
- Preventing personal information from being stolen by identity thieves
For similar reasons, the law applies when someone is still living but has become incapacitated. Having access to someone’s online financial information can make caring for them much easier by facilitating purchases and the transfer of funds.
In many cases, digital assets are already being treated like other forms of property during the estate planning process. This law provides assurances that people will be able to treat their digital accounts and files the same way as any other property under Florida estate law.
For help creating an estate plan that incorporates both your digital assets and your physical property, speak with an experienced Tampa estate planning attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.