Tag: ian hull

01 Sep

Don’t Forget Your Digital Assets When Drawing Up a Will

Ian Hull Estate Planning, New Media Observations, Wills Tags: , , , , , 0 Comments

When you think of the assets to be distributed upon an individual’s death, the common ones are bank accounts, investments, real estate, and any heirlooms or valuable items that have been accumulated during one’s lifetime. But we can’t forget digital assets as well.

Digital assets are any type of content stored digitally on a computer, website or on the cloud. Most of us are online every day for work and personal reasons, generating documents, sending texts and sharing images. These are all digital assets. So are frequent flyer or store reward programs that allow people to accumulate points that could grow to have substantial worth.

If you think your digital assets won’t amount to much, think again. A 2013 study by McAfee, an American-based global computer security software company, found that the average American had more than $35,000 of assets stored on their devices. Our digital profiles have certainly increased since then, and so has the need to protect those assets when we die.

Millennials, generally defined as those born between 1981 to 1996, know the value of digital assets. They grew up in the digital world and place great value on the movies, music and apps on their various devices.

As they age, they are starting to think about estate planning, sometimes in ways that older generations may not be familiar with. For example, their estates may include Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Their financial profile will not only encompass traditional bank and investing assets, but perhaps PayPal or other financial apps.

Social media accounts are another important form of digital asset. We probably all know someone who has died but their Facebook page lives on. This occurs because when a social media account is opened, the person is asked to approve a user agreement that often prohibits sharing passwords. On death, these agreements can force the executor into long battles to gain access to the account, often in a foreign jurisdiction where the online firm is based.

By listing your digital assets in your will and by designating someone, perhaps your executor, to manage those accounts after your death, you can ensure your online profile does not outlast your time here on Earth. Of course, you have to provide that person with your login information for each of their social media and crypto-currency accounts. Some people rely on a digital vault – which is really an online safety deposit box – to store this information, with the password for the vault shared with their executor.

Digital assets are crucial for those operating online businesses, as they include their website and all its content, plus the firm’s social media and email accounts. Financial information about clients is also part of that, contained in online accounting programs that perhaps only one person can access.

There have been limited legislative reforms to address digital assets. In 2016, the Uniform Access to Digital Assets by Fiduciaries Act was introduced, based on the American Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. It would provide, by default, access to fiduciaries (including executors) to digital assets, though this Act has yet to be adopted by most provinces and may not be binding on firms based outside of Canada.

In Ontario, the Estates Administration Act does not explicitly refer to any assets of a digital nature. Nor does the Substitute Decisions Act, which governs what happens when someone is not capable of making certain decisions about their property.

Alberta’s Estate Administration Act is the only Canadian succession-related statute to make reference to online accounts within the context of the executor’s duty to identify estate assets and liabilities, which includes online accounts.

Given the amount of digital information that is recorded about each of us, our digital assets reflect the lives we lived. Since Canadians are online more than ever, our electronic footprint is increasing, and so is the need to address digital assets in our wills.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Ian Hull

01 May

Hull on Estates #545 – The availability of summary judgments

76admin Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Hull on Estates, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, Show Notes Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

In today’s podcast, Ian Hull and Rebecca Rauws discuss the availability of summary judgments, and their use in estate litigation, in the context of the recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Aird & Berlis LLP v Oravital Inc., 2018 ONCA 164.

Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

Click here for more information on Ian M. Hull.

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31 Oct

Hull on Estates #532 – Do common law spouses need to live together?

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This week on Hull on Estates, Ian M. Hull and Stuart Clark discuss the recent case of Stajduhar v. Wolfe, 2017 ONSC 4954, and whether two individuals need to live together to be considered spouses within the confines of Part V of the Succession Law Reform Act.

Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

Click here for more information on Ian M. Hull.

Click here for more information on Stuart Clark.

05 Sep

Hull on Estates #528 – Quantum Meruit Claims

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Today on Hull on Estates, Ian Hull and Noah Weisberg discuss quantum meruit claims and the decision in Tarantino v. Galvano.

 Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.
08 Aug

Hull on Estates #526 – Vanier V Vanier – Undue Influence and Powers of Attorney

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Today on Hull on Estates, Ian Hull and Rebecca Rauws discuss the recent Court of Appeal decision in Vanier v Vanier, 2017 ONCA 561, including the different tests for undue influence and the practice of assessing undue influence by capacity assessors.

 Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.
27 Jun

Hull on Estates #523 – The Limitation Period in Section 38 of the Trustee Act and Crossclaims

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Today on Hull on Estates, Ian M. Hull and Doreen So discuss the recent Court of Appeal decision in Levesque v. Crampton Estate, 2017 ONCA 455, and the two-year, from death, limitation in section 38 of the Trustee Act.

 Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.
30 May

Hull on Estates #521- Removing Opposing Counsel as Lawyers of Record

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Today on Hull on Estates, Ian Hull and Paul Trudelle discuss removing opposing counsel as lawyers of record, and the decisions of Moad v. Shepherd, 2017 ABQB 330 (CanLII) and McKeller Estate v. Powell 1996 CarswellOnt 642.

 Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.
23 May

Hull on Estates #520 – Role of The Estate Trustee During Litigation

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This week on Hull on Estates, Ian Hull discusses the role of the Estate Trustee During Litigation and the impact of case law over the last 50 years.

 Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.
16 May

Hull on Estates #519 – Prudent Investments

76admin Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, Show Notes, Uncategorized Tags: , , , 0 Comments

This week on Hull on Estates, Ian and Noah discuss the importance of prudent investment by a trustee in light of the decision in Mowry v Groome.

 Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.
11 Apr

Hull on Estates #514 – Intersections in Trust and Family Law

76admin Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, Show Notes, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

This week on Hull on Estates, Ian Hull discusses the various areas of interplay between trust law and family law.

 Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

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