(May 3, 2016) For many of us life has changed drastically.  Although, if you are like me, the change has been slow, we must face the inevitable.  We used to pay bills by check through the USPS, receive hard copy bank statement in our mailbox, organize receipts in filing cabinets, and store photos in photo albums.  Now we shop on-line, pay bills on-line, receive bank statements through the USPS only if specifically requested, communicate with friends and family through the use of Facebook and Twitter, and store our photos in the “cloud”.

Have you thought about what happens to your “on-line” life (digital assets) following your incapacity or death?  Michigan recently enacted the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (the “Act”) that allows you to name a designated recipient to access and manage your digital assets.

Prior to the enactment of the Act access to an individual’s digital assets was very difficult due to privacy laws protecting the individual user.  The unintended consequence of the privacy laws was that digital assets could not easily be accessed by family members in the event of the death or disability of the individual user.  The Act rectifies this unintended consequence and gives the individual user an ability to choose a designated recipient, either directly through an agreement with the digital custodian or through estate planning documents, to administer the user’s digital assets.  Importantly, the Act also provides that the individual user may prohibit access to such accounts.

You have planned for the management and distribution of your real estate and personal property through your estate plan.  Now, you can also provide for the protection of your digital assets.  Don’t forget to incorporate this element into your current plan.

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