Digital Estate Planning Checklist : Protect Your Digital Assets

Digital Estate Planning Checklist : Protect Your Digital Assets

We got a question for you?
Have you ever wondered about what happens to your Facebook stuff when you die? What about your Dropbox, your Twitter, your Instagram, even your PayPal… What happens to these digital assets when you are gone?

We wondered the same thing, that is why we put together a resource – a Digital Assets Estate Planning Checklist. It has answers to all these questions and some avenues for things that you can do about it.
Use our checklist to identify all your online assets in less than an hour.

Get it for free here:

Store them safely
Once you have all those digital assets identified, the next step is to safely store them for you or for your loved ones. Create a vault with AfterVault.com and record each asset in its predefined AfterVault category.

Leave clear instructions
Don’t forget to state your wishes regarding your digital assets. Make sure the people you love know what you want them to do.

Is there a way to protect my digital assets if I die?

Estate Planning For Business Owners

Estate Planning For Business Owners

Estate planning is even more essential for business owners. In fact, your business insurance might even require that you have some sort of plan in place to ensure that your business can continue even if you are gone. And by putting your affairs in order you can best protect both your family and your business.

Business Succession Planning
Think about what could happen if you don’t have a will. Just like your personal assets, your business assets will most likely pass to the next-of-kin. This might not be a big issue if your beneficiary is knowledgeable about the business. But what if he or she doesn’t know anything about running your business? This could lead to many problems with stakeholders and employees. Don’t leave your business in an ambiguous state. Make sure you specify, legally, just exactly who you want to take the helm if something happens to you.

What can you do?
We’ll talk about a couple of important techniques here but, as always, the easiest and safest thing you can do is to contact an experienced estate planner to lead you through the process.
As a business owner, one of the most powerful tools you can use is a buy-sell agreement. This type of agreement controls how ownership is transferred in the event that you become unable to run your business for any reason. This type of instrument is a legally binding agreement used to reallocate a share of a business if an owner dies or leaves the business. Using such an agreement you can also allocate portions of the business to more than one person.

If you want your heirs to have money but not control the business, you should look into purchasing buy-sell insurance. In essence, this provides the money and a framework for your business partners to buy out your share of the company’s net worth from your heirs thus providing for smoother business continuity.

It’s also important that you create a written succession plan. In this plan, you will designate a successor, recommend if the business should be sold, specify exactly what the business owns and what it owes, and provide a detailed list of accounts.

How can you make sure the right information will pass to the right people?
AfterVault makes this really easy. You can add one additional vault in your account, specially focused on your business needs. With only one click you can invite your business guardian. All the information you put into your vaults is well organized, highly secure, and available to you 24/7 from everywhere in the world. So if you go on a business trip to the other side of the world you can still upload, alter, or access your documents.

Bonus tip:
In your estate plan make sure you specify which assets belong to the family and which are business assets. This could save your family a lot of problems if the business’ creditors try to seek money from family assets to cover business debts.

The Top 10 Reasons to Update Your Will

The Top 10 Reasons to Update Your Will

Recently we stumbled upon a question about when should one should update their will. We spoke with estate planning attorneys and they all agreed that if there has been a major change in your life, such as giving birth, marriage, or divorce you need to alter your will.

Have you moved to another state or you just welcomed your grandchild? If so, then it’s time to update your will. There are countless reasons, but we want to share with you the top 10 reasons listed by Findlaw.

1. The individuals you have named are deceased.
2. New people should be named in your will (e.g. birth, adoption).
3. Divorce or marriage.
4. New state laws. You need to periodically check to see whether your state has enacted new laws that impact your estate planning documents. More importantly, if you move to a different state, don’t assume that your will made in your previous state conforms to the requirements of your new state. Each state has its own legal requirements for making a will.
5. Change in guardians, personal representatives, or trustees.
6. Children reach the age of eighteen.
7. A substantial increase or decrease in the value of your estate.
8. The acquisition or disposition of a significant asset.
9. You should see an attorney about reviewing and updating your estate plans prior to reaching 70 1/2 years of age if you have an IRA, 401(k), or other qualified plan that requires you to begin to take distributions at age 70 1/2. The beneficiary you designated will have an irrevocable impact on both your and your beneficiary’s required distributions.
10. The passage of time is reason enough. You should review your will and estate planning documents every three to five years.

And finally, don`t forget to upload your updated version to your secure vault. If you still don`t have an account in AfterVault.com, then right now is the best time to create one. Here you can safely store your vital information and make sure your family and loved ones are taken care of.

6 out of 10 Americans Don’t Have an Estate Plan

6 out of 10 Americans Don’t Have an Estate Plan

It is never easy to start planning for the time when you won’t be around. Leaving estate planning for later is the easy path but that just means that the problem is still there, maybe until it’s too late. It’s essential to recognize the reality of life and put your affairs in order.
Recently we stumbled upon a survey made by Caring.com related to Estate Planning. The results were surprising. Even though people are aware of the consequences of lost wills and lost life insurance, they are still resistant to taking care of their own plans. It’s understandable because, let’s be honest, no one wants to really face the fact that their final day will someday come.

Let’s take a look at the survey data:
1. Only 42 percent of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents such as a will or living trust.
2. Only 36 percent of adults with children under the age of 18 have an end-of-life plan in place.
This means that 6 out of 10 Americans might lose assets or leave their families in the dark. Their pets might end up in a shelter or the lack of information might cost their family many thousands in lost life insurance.

Missing estate planning information cost Linda $320,000 in lost life insurance.

What you can do?
It can take only a couple of hours to get most of what you need in good order for your family if you use AfterVault.com or some other service as a guide. Nowadays you can easily create an online will with LegalZoom or another such service and then securely store everything in a digital vault where you can share it with others in your family and leave special instructions or messages.
But, most importantly, we need to recognize that our actions will help the people we care for and our lack of action is likely to cause them hardship and trouble when they are least able to cope with it.

In this article we included the infographics provided by Caring.com. AfterVault wants to help them spread awareness about this important topic and make sure there are fewer families without a plan.

Is it possible to write your own will?

Is it possible to write your own will?

Important as it is, estate planning can be confusing and complex. When you first start thinking about it, so many questions can arise. Foremost of course is ‘What do we need to do?’ For many people, the next question mark is whether or not they can write their own will. Is it possible without the help of an attorney?

The short answer is, ‘Yes, you can!’

But, even though the answer is yes, you might be well advised to work with an attorney to create and update your will. We’ll be sure to also talk about this option.

If you live in the right state, a good start is your state’s statutory form will. This type of will is created by a state legislature and written into state law. You can use them at no cost, but you will not have the power to personalize it as there are defined sections that cannot be changed. But, if your wishes are very simple, you might find that the statutory form will meets your needs exactly.

For many of us, however, either we don’t live in a state with a statutory form will or we have more than just simple needs. Even in these cases, writing your own will is pretty easy if you want a simple, straightforward will. If you want to do it on your own there are excellent, inexpensive online solutions to help you write your will. Legal Zoom is a popular choice. Nolo Press’s website and publications are terrific. Between these two resources the majority of people can get their will in excellent order.

On the other hand, you should not hesitate to work with an attorney if you have any doubts at all about your needs. An attorney can be sure that you understand all the laws that govern wills and estates in your jurisdiction. Although there are probably many good estate attorneys in your local area, you might also try finding assistance with RocketLawyer.com or some other online law assistance site. You can usually save a bit of money and still get excellent work from one of these sites.

Finally, no matter which direction you go, don`t forget to safely store your will so your family will know exactly where to find it when they need it the most. AfterVault.com is a terrific choice to make sure it’s safely stored and delivered to the right person when that time comes.