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Florida may allow pre-death planning for electronic data

When making estate plans in Florida, most people commonly focus on what to do with their assets. Choices about homes or other real estate, savings, other assets, and personal belongings are made when creating wills or trusts. However, there are other issues that people should also be taking into consideration at this time. One of those involves what will happen to their electronic records after death.

Last year, a bill attempting to providing Floridians a way to have their digital lives expunged after they die failed to receive approval. It was blocked by several technology companies such as Google and Facebook. The bill would have granted rights to the closest living relative to a decedent that allowed the relative to cancel, delete, or otherwise alter the decedent’s electronic assets or information. Part of the issue was that federal law prohibits anyone from giving information in electronic form without the express consent of the person involved. A warrant can also be used for this purpose.

This year, a new bill has revised the provisions of the first one and is making its way into the legislature now. The changed proposal gives people the ability to designate before death a person who will have power over their electronic information after death. This can be done via typical estate planning vehicles like guardianship powers of attorney, trusts, or wills. It can also be done by a specific form that provides such authorization.

The proposed Florida bill could impact everything from communications to banking information and more. People wanting to learn more about this and other aspects of estate planning may wish to consult with an attorney.

 

Source: WFSU.org, “Lawmakers Set To Approve Digital Assets Bill,” Lynn Hatter, February 22, 2016

 

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