Many Nevada residents neglect to consider their digital assets like their social media profiles when they begin planning their estates. However, it may now be easier for Facebook users to dictate what will happen to their profiles in the event of their deaths with the introduction of a new feature on the social networking site.
Disputes over the items a family member has in their estate when they die are common among Las Vegas families whether the deceased person had millions of dollars or died virtually penniless. Wills and trusts are effective ways to reduce the amount of discord after death but unless every heir has a clear understanding of what they are to receive as an inheritance, disagreements and even lawsuits may still happen. Robin Williams' estate was not exempt from family drama.
Digital assets are one of the most overlooked when Nevada residents think about estate planning. Many people may not realize how much money they actually have invested in their iTunes, Amazon or other online accounts. Without proper planning, these assets can be lost upon the account owner's death.
While it is true that creating a will is a basic part of estate planning, it is important to note that a will is not all there is to the process. A will determines who will get what property after the owner passes on as well as determining who will be in charge of distributing the decedent's belongings. However, people should also consider using trusts because they offer more flexibility and protections than a will alone can provide.
A Nevada senior dealing with estate planning considerations may wonder about the best assets to keep for passing along to heirs. Some assets are better to retain until death, and others should be liquidated rather than held for testamentary distribution. While the estate planning process is affected by one's unique portfolio, there are some helpful principles to follow in managing assets.
What happens to a person's digital assets after he or she dies? One family had to fight Yahoo for the right to access their deceased son's emails that he wrote while in the military. The case took a year to resolve although the family ultimately won the right to access those messages. Fortunately, a new piece of legislation called the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act may codify who has access to an individual's digital content after he or she passes.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that an estate can quickly pay outstanding debts and transfer assets to heirs and beneficiaries is to keep documents organized and easy to access. A good idea may be to keep digital copies of these documents on a computer file. It is also important that one person or a few trusted friends or family members know where these documents are kept and how to access them.
Nevada residents are encouraged to make periodic reviews of their estate plans so that changes can be made in a timely way as needed. Many people believe that their estate planning is completed when the documents are signed and filed. However, failing to pay attention to these documents in the future could result in difficulties for surviving heirs. Research indicates that most estate plans are at least five years old, even those involving extremely sizeable estates.
It is natural for those who are left out of a will to feel a certain level of bitterness or regret. In the case of one woman, her 74-year-old father left a $1.6 million trust as well as his possessions to his third wife. Instead of getting a portion of her father's estate, she and her family got nothing.
Nevada residents who are considering estate planning must remember to make provisions for digital assets as well as physical ones. Increasingly, people have more personal and financial information stored online and use the Internet to bank, pay bills and even invest. Passwords and usernames can make it impossible to access important information, and in some cases it may not even be clear what accounts a person owns. Just as physical property is addressed in wills, digital property should be as well.