August 05, 2016
While the foundations of trust and estate planning remain constant, new rules and changes in technology or legislative trends might prompt investors and their tax and legal advisors to update their estate plans.
Recent developments worth highlighting include new state laws concerning digital assets, alternative approaches to trust payouts and a renewed focus on minimizing income taxes to potentially preserve the value of an estate.
Ensuring access to digital assets
Estates no longer encompass only physical property such as homes, vehicles or jewelry. Most people now own digital assets such as photos and videos, downloaded music and movies, or even cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin that hold value in the offline world.
It can be hard for heirs to access assets after someone dies because:
Sally Mullen, Chief Fiduciary Officer, U.S. Bank Wealth Management
- Privacy and computer fraud and abuse laws might restrict access to online accounts.
- Service providers such as Facebook might lock accounts after a person’s death. Even if one has the passwords, logging in can violate service agreements.