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Tips for 2020/January 14, 2020

| January 14, 2020
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It’s a new year and a new decade.  There seems to be extra incentive to move towards our goals and resolutions, so we wanted to briefly mention two simple but important tips to help keep you on track.

Write out the full year 2020.

When signing any official or legal documents, many experts in fraud prevention are recommending that you write out the full year “2020”.  Abbreviating the year as “20” can open the door for unscrupulous individuals to simply add two digits to the end of that year.  For example, let’s say you wrote a check to an individual but it was never cashed.  If this check were to fall into criminal hands a year later and the check was dated 1/10/20, this person could add “21” to the end of the year, making that check appear no longer outdated.  This also applies to legal documents where there may be incentive for another party to make the document appear to be dated in an earlier year by adding “19” or a lesser number to the date signed.  While a very simple recommendation, it could be important in helping to keep your goals on track in the year(s) ahead.

Record and store information on your digital assets in a secure location. 

Along the same lines, protecting your digital assets is getting more and more important each day.  Our lives have become more dependent on digital and cloud-based services, which means maintaining access to these accounts and sites is a significant component to our estate planning.

A digital asset, as defined by the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, is an electronic record of which an individual has a right or interest.  This can include information stored on an individual’s digital devices, content uploaded to websites, and rights in digital property.  The following list digital property may help to put the importance of this in a bit more perspective: email, social media, blogs, cryptocurrency, photos and videos posted on sites or stored in the “cloud”, reward programs (hotel, airline, etc.), media subscription accounts (iTunes, Spotify, Netflix, newspapers, magazines, etc.), calendar, contacts, text messages, and documents stored on a device’s hard drive.  A lot of our lives are irreversibly intertwined with technology.

A complete modern-day estate plan would be lacking if it fails to consider the management and disposition of digital assets upon disability or death. A simple first step would be to take an inventory of your digital assets.  This will include websites, cloud storage as well as hard drive storage.  We have created what we call a Digital Assets Worksheet that you can use to assist in compiling this information.  Whether you contact us for this worksheet or use your own, be sure to store this information in a secure location along with your other estate planning documents, and tell your personal representative where these can be found should something happen to you.

 Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. (20-006)

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