Michigan residents are living in the digital age. People do not just have assets in their homes or businesses anymore. In fact, people have a whole slew of digital assets that are very important to them. While people may not think of their social media accounts as digital assets, they are. And, these things do not just go away once a person dies. In fact, people need to come up with a plan on how to handle their digital assets after their death.
This just got a bit easier in Michigan. Recently, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that allows individuals to assign digital assets like other types of property. Under this new law, individuals are able to assign how they want their digital assets to be distributed or used following their death. Probate courts are now able to give control of these assets over to assigned individuals.
In the law, a digital asset is any electronic record where the person has an interest or right. This is otherwise uncharted territory for many probate courts. Prior to this law, it could be very difficult for individuals to gain access to their love one’s digital assets when that loved one died.
This law also makes it easier for families to gain access to digital accounts to pay bills and make other necessary changes when individuals become mentally unable to care for or manage their own assets.
It is important for people to understand how this new law could affect their estate planning. Estate administrators will need to be given authority to handle issues surrounding digital assets. It is also important for people to make sure they have a list of passwords and accounts so that their family or friends can access the information once they are gone.
Source: WXYZ Detroit, “New Michigan law lets you designate a person to control your digital assets after death,” Alexandra Bahou, March 30, 2016