Estate Planning: Protecting Your Digital Assets

Hello World,

If you passed away tomorrow what would happen with all your online accounts, subscriptions, and services? Would a family member be able to access the thousands of pictures you have stored on your hard drive? What would happen to all those songs you have downloaded from iTunes? Would your World of Warcraft character be forever lost in Azeroth?

To help ensure that your photos, emails, music, video and any other types of digital assets you have accumulated over your life is protected and handled as you wish, it is important to consider the following:

1. Identify Your Digital Assets: “Digital Assets” is an umbrella term which includes any electronic file or media which you have right, possession or interest in. Such digital assets may include:

  • Social Media Accounts: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc.
  • Music, Video, Photography Accounts: iTunes, Pandora, YouTube, Flickr, etc.
  • Financial Service Accounts: Mint, PayPal, Ebay, Amazon, etc.
  • Communication / Information Platforms: Online Newspapers, Cell Phone, Email, Text, etc.

The key here is to think broadly. Think about your daily or weekly routine. What are the first sites you visit when you sit down at your computer? What apps do you have on your smart phone? What notices do you receive through your email account?

2. How are these assets stored or protected: Do you have one user name and password for all your digital assets? I certainly hope not; as my step-father has repeatedly advised me – “Your passwords should be encrypted and frequently changed.” He recommends KeePassX, a personal password management system. If you were to pass away today is there a place where your username and passwords are kept?

3. Determine What Should Happen Upon Your Death: Do you wish to leave your vacation pictures to Aunt Selma? Would you prefer that YouTube video of you on New Year’s Eve fade into internet oblivion?

4. Meet with an Estate Planning Attorney: An estate planning attorney can help organize your Will or make other arrangements to see that your Digital Assets are properly handled.

LEGAL CAVEAT: I should mention that Massachusetts currently has not adopted any legislative direction over your digital assets after death.This being the case, despite your best intentions, it may still be difficult for your loved ones to access your electronic accounts because of the contractual terms and conditions between you and the 3rd party electronic provider. Your loved ones may have to produce a death certificate or order from the Court before allowing access to your electronic accounts, the account provider may only allow limited access, or legal action may need to be taken.

I wish you all the best,

Josh

(T): 781-647-8100

(E): Josh@ccrlawgroup.com

DISCLAIMER: This communication provides general information and does not constitute legal advice. Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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Divorce and Tax Considerations: Taking Advantage of the Child-Care Credit

Hello World!

Please don’t be scared off by the picture, the purpose of this post is to help divorced parents with children put money back in their wallet by taking advantage of the child-care tax credit pursuant to I.R.C. ยง 21.

Child Tax Credit PictureThe IRS permits individuals to claim as a credit employment-related child care expenses for dependents of the individual.

“Employment-related expenses” may include without limitation: the cost of a babysitter, the cost of a daycare or childcare center, camp (however overnight camp does not qualify), etc.

Through 2012 individuals with one child may claim employment related-expenses up to $3,000.00 as a credit while individuals with 2 or more children ma claim up to $6,000.00 during the taxable year.

Children of divorced parents only qualify for this credit if they satisfy the Qualifying Person Test which basically provides that the child be:

  1. under the age of 13;
  2. received over half of their support from one or both parents who are divorced;
  3. the child was in the custody of one or both parents for more than half the year; and
  4. The individual is the child’s custodial parent. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights in the year. If the child was with each parent for an equal number of nights, the custodial parent is the parent with the higher adjusted gross income.

For further information please see Ten Things to Know About the Child and Dependent Care Credit posted on the IRS website.

Please consult with your family law attorney and accountant when considering how you may take advantage of this child-care credit when negotiating a divorce.

I wish you all the best,

Josh

(T): 781-647-8100

(E): Josh@ccrlawgroup.com

DISCLAIMER: This communication provides general information and does not constitute legal advice. Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.