March 2013      

Team Tisser Foundation (TTF) is a non-profit corporation founded by Doron M. Tisser and his wife Laurie. TTF raises money for various charitable purposes and does not focus on any one charity or charitable purpose. The goal is to raise as much money as possible to "Help Make A Difference" by "Improving Life for Others." TTF has made donations to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Challenged Athletes Foundation, as well as charities helping people affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunamis. Since 2000, TTF has donated over $250,000 to over 40 different charities. Friends and clients generally donate money to TTF to support Doron's participation in triathlons and marathons. If you would like more information about TTF, please contact Doron at doron@tisserlaw.com, or visit www.teamtisser.org

Quick Links
www.tisserlaw.com
www.teamtisser.org

About
Doron M. Tisser

Doron M. Tisser has specialized in estate and gift planning, tax planning, trust and probate administration, charitable giving, buy-sell agreements and related areas for over 30 years. Mr. Tisser is one of less than 100 attorneys in California who has been designated as both a Certified Specialist in Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law, and as a Certified Specialist in Taxation Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. He was chosen by his peers as a Super Lawyer for 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 for Southern California, and enjoys an "a.v." rating by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is the highest possible rating and is based on ethical considerations and legal skills. Mr. Tisser has published over 65 articles and chapters in books on various estate and tax planning subjects and is a frequent speaker and lecturer at estate and tax planning seminars. Mr. Tisser competes in triathlons, including Ironman races, and raises money for charities through Team Tisser Foundation, a non-profit corporation he co-founded with his wife Laurie.

What’s Happening

We will be having our 4th Annual Conference on The State of Estate Planning on Wednesday evening, April 24, 2013, and again on Tuesday evening, April 30, 2013. During the conference we will be discussing the new estate tax laws which were included in the fiscal cliff deal as well as other matters that affect everyone’s estate plans.

If you would like to RSVP, please contact either Laura Stein, at laura@tisserlaw.com, or Amber McBride, at amber@tisserlaw.com.

DIGITAL ASSETS AND ESTATE PLANNING

In last month’s newsletter, we discussed the issue of estate planning for digital assets. We identified the kinds of assets which clients may have online, including pictures, social media, bank accounts, and intellectual property, and we discussed the difficulties in having a successor identify and access those assets if something happens to their owner.

In this newsletter, we will discuss the current policies of some of the common online account providers, and our approach to planning for digital assets.

Current Policies

While many online account providers have no policy relating to deaths of their users, some of them do. Here are some examples of the policies.

Facebook: A family member, upon providing a death certificate, may have the deceased user’s account closed or they can have it “memorialized.” This means that no one may log into the account and make any changes, contact information is deleted, and only confirmed friends may view the memorialized profile.

Gmail/Google: A family member may have the account deleted, but may receive a copy of contents of the account prior to deletion if certain requirements are met.

Yahoo! Mail: No access is granted to family members without court approval, but the account may be closed by providing a death certificate.

As you can see, sometimes there is a method by which your family can access information. But if your named successor is not a family member, or if the website has no policy in place, your successor will be unable to gain control of your account.

Two-Step Approach to Planning for Digital Assets

The first step in estate planning for digital assets is keeping an accurate list of online accounts you own, including usernames and passwords. We do not recommend that you keep this list saved as a file on your computer, since a virus or other malicious software on your computer could give a third party access to all of your online accounts. This list could be kept in the cloud using online file storage systems, but your successor would need to know how and where to find the information.

Instead, we recommend you create a paper list showing all of your online accounts and all login information, including usernames, passwords and answers to security questions. This list would be kept with your original estate planning documents in a safe, and updated as necessary. Your successor must be able to access this list if you are deceased or incapacitated.

The second step is naming someone in your estate planning documents who will handle your digital assets (sometimes called a "digital trustee" or “digital agent”). This person can be the same as your regular trustee and agent, or he or she can be a family member or friend who is tech savvy and someone you trust to access and distribute digital assets.

Providing for the Digital Trustee’s Authority

In order to name a digital agent and a digital trustee, and to give that person the authority discussed above, you would need to execute a power of attorney which specifically grants your agent authority over your digital assets while you are living, as well as a trust instrument which gives your trustee the necessary powers while you are living and after your death.

Digital asset information should not be put into your Will, since it becomes a public document upon your death. While there is no guarantee that your digital trustee’s authority will be honored, we hope that as digital trustees become more common, more websites will begin recognizing them and new laws will be established acknowledging your successor’s authority over your digital assets.

Tisser Law Group, A Professional Corporation | 5425 Farralone Ave, Suite 100 | Woodland Hills | CA | 91367

doron@tisserlaw.com – Doron M. Tisser, Esq.
brian@tisserlaw.com – Brian H. Standing, Esq.
armine@tisserlaw.com – Armine Bazikyan, Esq.
judy@tisserlaw.com – Judy Schwarz, Paralegal

erica@tisserlaw.com – Erica Opperman, Paralegal

laura@tisserlaw.com – Laura Stein, Admin. Director
amber@tisserlaw.com – Amber McBride, Practice Coordinator
heather@tisserlaw.com – Heather Lanet, Admin. Assistant
zion@tisserlaw.com – Zion Dungo, Admin. Assistant
jesus@tisserlaw.com – Jesus Esteves, Admin. Assistant  
This Newsletter is intended to provide legal information only; legal information is not legal advice and you should consult with qualified legal counsel prior to implementing any estate planning. The transmission or receipt of information to or from this Newsletter is not intended to create, and does not create or constitute, an attorney-client relationship. No portion of this Newsletter may be reproduced or used in any manner other than for the private information of the reader without the express written consent of Tisser Law Group, A Professional Corporation. The testimonials throughout this Newsletter were provided by actual clients. To maintain their privacy their names may have been abbreviated. Please note that testimonials do not warrant, guarantee or predict your particular results. Copyright Tisser Law Group, A Professional Corporation 2010. All Rights Reserved.