Owning assets and property in the modern world means that you may have wealth that is not as tangible as cash in a bank. A number of people have moved beyond traditional bank accounts and stock certificates as means of measuring their assets, instead choosing to hold assets in the digital world. The law considers these assets as part of a person’s estate that must move through probate after their death.
A skilled probate attorney can help create estate plans that address the presence of digital assets in Coral Gables probate. This includes properly locating and identifying these assets, making plans for their distribution in the future, and taking steps that may allow these assets to move to heirs outside the probate process.
Examples of Digital Assets and Ownership
Many people now measure their wealth as a combination of physical assets (such as real estate and cash) and digital assets (such as stocks, cryptocurrencies, and even NFTs). These digital items have actual value. As such, they must move through probate when the owner passes away.
When writing a last will and testament, a testator must properly identify and locate these assets. This can include tracking down brokerage accounts, finding receipts for digital purchases, and even locating intellectual property registration rights for certain works. The goal here is to create a comprehensive estate plan that helps digital assets move smoothly through the Coral Gables probate process. An attorney can assist someone in effectively cataloguing these assets in their testamentary documents.
Limiting the Impact of Probate on Digital Assets
Many people realize that the probate process can take some time to play out. They also realize that this can be a costly process and may raise legal questions that can cause fights among family members.
One option to limit the impact of probate on digital assets is to make plans for the transfer of these assets before the owner’s death. A collection of options exist that allow for this transfer at any point in the future, free from the complexity of probate and from the taxation that comes with giving a gift.
The most popular choice is usually a trust. Placing an item in a trust means that the owner no longer personally owns the item in question. It also means that a trustee will have an obligation to both protect the asset while it is under their control and to transfer the item to a beneficiary at a point in the future, under Florida Statute § 736.0801.
As applied to digital assets, the trust can take temporary control over cryptocurrency, online stock portfolios, and intellectual property rights until the stated date for distribution. A Coral Gables lawyer can help determine if a trust or other flexible form of estate planning might help retain control of digital assets in probate.
Let an Attorney Handle the Details Concerning Digital Assets in Coral Gables Probate Today
The rise of digital assets like crypto and NFTs over the past decade has complicated the traditional probate process. It can now be much more difficult to locate, identify, and place a value on a person’s whole estate. As a result, anyone who has questions on this can seek out legal help so that there is no conflict when the time comes for assets to change hands.
An attorney can help you manage your digital assets for Coral Gables probate by identifying them and coming up with the best method of distributing them to your heirs. Get a free consultation by calling our law firm at your earliest convenience today.