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Where do you keep your essential financial information and valued photos, videos, and family information? In the past people would have had a lockbox, or safe, or desk drawer in which to keep financial information. They may have had photo albums on the shelf. Or maybe they would have had a file drawer with scrapbooks, family tree chart, or correspondence and awards, etc. But now for many people those things are stored on a computer or hand-held device. Everything can now be done online from managing finances to communicating with family and friends, to maintaining calendars and contacts, storing family photos, and accessing books, music, and periodicals. Many of us have social media accounts and some even have a personal website. Each website or application requires a username and password. Who will be able to find and access of all of your accounts in the event that something happens to you?
Of course you should keep a list, but given the sensitive nature of the information, this list must be safe, secure, and yet also accessible if something happens to you. In the event of your disability or death, will your loved ones be fully prepared to access to your digital assets?
There are at least four important components of a good computer digital account (CDA) plan:
- A digital asset inventory — create a list of your online accounts and digital assets (this must be routinely updated).
- Security for the inventory — keep the list in a safe place to prevent misuse, but arrange for access to it when the need arises.
- A designated digital fiduciary — choose an appropriate person to access and manage your digital assets in your absence and upon your death or incapacity.
- Arrange for access — inform your fiduciary how to find your inventory when you cannot access it and authorize access your computer and electronic accounts with your passwords.
A good estate plan takes these items into account. An experienced trusts and estates attorney can help you create and review a CDA plan as part of a comprehensive strategy to protect yourself and your heirs.
Estate executors have duties that they must perform, or they will be removed by the court. The Summit County Probate Court is in the process of removing the executor of radio host Howie Chizek’s estate for malfeasance. The Court also denied his requested fees.
There’s an app for that. The Greedy Associates blawg lists a number of DUI-related apps that are now available. These include apps that analyze your horizontal gaze nystagmus, or that will track your drinks and target BAC level. You can even get keychain versions of a breathalyzer to work with your app. Of course the safest thing to do is not to drink alcohol if you are driving.
The U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. held that the NSA’s telephone record collection activity “almost certainly does violate” the Constitution. The Wall Street Journal LawBlog tries to sort out what it means in practical terms: What Does Monday’s NSA Ruling Mean? – Law Blog – WSJ.
Rochow v LINA – 6th Circuit Rules For ERISA Claimant, Ordering Insurance Co. to Pay $3.8 Million in profits to Claimant in Addition to Lost Benefits.
If someone kills your dog, should you be able to sue for emotional distress or suffering caused by the loss? Most courts have said no. The Stanford Journal of Animal Law & Policy recently published an article stating that this is the best policy and in the best interest of the pets themselves. This may be a tough sell for pet owners.
Courts and Legislatures Have Kept the Proper Leash on Pet Injury Lawsuits: Why Rejecting Emotion-Based Damages Promotes The Rule of Law, Modern Values, and Animal Welfare | Stanford Law School Student Journals.
It is no wonder there is a lack of trust in the federal government. The NSA lied to the Department of Justice, and by extension, to the Supreme Court. Nine months ago, the court decided Clapper v. Amnesty International, denying standing to the plaintiffs because it was speculative that they were being spied on by the government. But we now know the plaintiffs were right. The Supreme Court’s decision relied, in part, on misrepresentations by the Solicitor General, which were in turn caused by misinformation from the NSA. Three congressmen, Senators Mark Udall, Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, in a letter to the Solicitor General, are asking the government to clear up any inaccuracies in the record.
Should a baseball club be liable for injuries from mascots tossing hotdogs into the stands? Robert Coomer was injured sitting in the stands watching a Kansas City Royals game. He knew from his many previous visits to the ballpark there was a tradition of a hotdog toss at the ballpark. Sluggerrr, the mascot, fired a hotdog underarm into the stands. Coomer, who’d looked away to check the out-of-town baseball scores, was smacked in the eye. He suffered a detached retina. A jury found that Coomer was to blame for his own injury, because he wasn’t paying attention to what was going on. The state appeals court threw out the verdict, finding that the trial judge had made a mistake in instructing the jury that if they saw the threat of getting hit during the hot-dog throw as inherent to the risk of attending the game, they should find in favor of the Royals. Did they make the right call? The case is currently before the Missouri Supreme Court for review. See more at Coomer v. Kansas City Royals: The case of the killer hot dog toss..
Forbes has a good article on seven reasons you should talk to your (adult) children about estate planning. The most important reason of course is that it can help to avoid problems later. But the Forbes article discusses the following seven reasons:
- Avoid surprises. Don’t leave them wondering about your intentions.
- Refine your plan. Getting feedback might make you think twice about your current plan.
- Save taxes. In some cases you may be able to instruct them on helping to save taxes.
- Adjust expectations. Make sure everyone is on the same page to avoid fights later.
- Explain yourself. Children may accept your decision more easily if you’ve explained why you made your decision.
- Anticipate a disclaimer. In some cases you need to know if your child would consider disclaiming their inheritance.
- Promote harmony. Talk to each child about their ideas and opinions.