Digital Estate Planning

Estate Planning is the act of providing instructions on the handling of an estate after death, disability or incapacitation. The general intent is for the long-term care of or the resolution of after death issues for the beneficiaries. The traditional method for estate planning includes preparing wills, creating a power of attorneys, solid insurance plans and several other methods. However, it does not consider digital assets.

The need for a solid estate plan is essential for every individual regardless of age, wealth and income. It is useful to make life decisions, planning charitable goals, protecting family assets in order to avoid frivolous litigation. Estate planning helps avoid disputes amongst your children/grandchildren on asset distribution. The Australian law has no inheritance tax and no obligation for a fixed portion of the estate to be distributed. However, it is still advisable to make a will to dispose of assets in Australia.

Digital Assets Management

Estate planning is no longer a simple process. The process has become complex after the emergence of Digital Estate planning to control digital assets. It is a new concept and the majority of lawyers lack the knowledge or experience of since it has revolutionised the traditional planning methods. Digital assets include cryptocurrency, digital wallets, payment accounts, domain ownership, online intellectual property rights, websites, blogs, gaming accounts, cloud storage, storage devices, smartphones, ebooks, reward program, social media accounts and several other types of digital assets.  Individuals failing to protect their digital assets through digital estate planning will be at a serious disadvantage. The online information of an individual for beneficiaries to access is stored online rather than on papers which becomes problematic.

The question arises is that how these digital assets will be controlled?

The need for Digital estate planning is highly important to tackle these issues and prevent identity thefts since these assets did not exist just a few years ago.

What is available now?

As technology advances, digital estate planners have found solutions to cater to these problems such as printing online information and depositing in security lockers or nominating heirs to access digital information. Facebook has laid much importance on digital estate planning and developed plenty of procedures for a deceased account holder such as giving the option for a memorial page after showing proof of death certificate or giving a close family member the right to deactivate and delete deceased’s account. Cryptocurrency estate planning remains a tricky area as giving access to another person of a digital wallet grows fear of losing wealth after death and non-accessibility of such accounts is worrying investors.

NSW State Government is examining the Digital Estate planning laws looking at the importance of controlling data after death. The NSW Government Law Reform Commission is reviewing this area considering its significance. Digital assets are not covered by a standard historical estate plan system. This gives the need for digital estate planners to provide solutions in order to protect and control the online wealth.

OneWill is a one-stop solution provider to cater to complex issues pertaining to Digital Estate Planning.

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