Category Archives: Dennis Hopper

Digital Property

What happens to  your Facebook account, Paypal transactions, or Ebay account if you pass away or become incapacitated?  Who has access to that “bill pay” function?  You have beautiful photo albums that you keep and update on-line, will your children still be able to see them?  You do your business back ups to the cloud, can your business partners get to your documents?

There are practical answers and legal answers here.  The legal pieces are probably still a murky tangle.  Presumably title transfers as a type of intangible property in some cases, in others, the cash will flow through probate like other types of financial accounts.

However, some practical steps are necessary before you even get to that point.

  • Make a list of digital accounts and passwords
  • Store them somewhere non-digital (like your desk drawer)
  • Update them when you change your passwords or add accounts

 

In some ways this goes against the grain of keeping our information secure, but I think that it is far more likely that an account will be hacked than that someone will rifle through your desk drawer for the list of digital account information.  (Of course, if you have middle school children and you control the XBox Live account, this may not apply…)

Some financial and legal professionals offer services that store this type of information along with copies of your important documents. It’s a little like a digital safety deposit box, and you create a password and pin that would allow another to see the information in the event of a crisis. 

However you decide to keep track, this type of information gains in importance every day, make sure someone can get to it if they need to.

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Dennis Hopper – words really do matter

It was reported in the New York Post that the discord over Dennis Hopper’s estate plan has already begun.  The crux of the matter is that Mr. Hopper did not want his wife to inherit from him if they were divorced or no longer living together.  Now, that seems reasonable, and in fact, a will is often drafted in a way that a divorce (or legal separation) will disinherit the former spouse.  However, Ms. Duffy (wife) was living on the property, but in a separate house.  So, is this “living together” or not?  Lawyers get a bad name for dragging out seemingly clear things, for being verbose, floundering in legal-ese, and generally seeming to obfuscate the obvious.  However, language defining what we think we already know can sometimes avoid confusion (and hefty legal fees).  When you are reviewing or working on any legal document, it pays to think about the “what ifs” during the drafting stage, and not at the litigation stage.  If your attorney asks you seemingly endless questions (“What if the guardians get divorced –who should care for your children”; “What if Jim isn’t avaliable?”; “What if everyone you’ve named dies before you do?”), be patient, think the questions through, and realize that your attorney really does have your best interest at heart, and is not just deliberately annoying you…

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