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Where’s the Key to Your Digital Diary?

Fact: Most of us are living life online.

Whether it’s a bank account, photo-sharing app or social media account, just about everything we do involves technology. The sheer number of usernames, PINs and passwords we manage is maddening.

Imagine what it would be like for your loved ones if you passed away. Would your spouse know how to log in to your email? Would your loved ones be able to access your social media? Who would be able to cancel your online subscriptions?

With technology playing such a huge role in our daily lives, it is important that it plays a role in your estate plan as well. Including a diary of your online footprint is an important step in protecting your digital assets and identity.

What Are Digital Assets?

Examples of digital assets include:

  • Social networking accounts
  • Email accounts
  • Shopping accounts
  • Online banking and billing accounts
  • Websites and blogs
  • Photo- and video-sharing accounts
  • Music and gaming accounts

With technology moving faster than the law, many people are left without specific guidelines for effective ways to plan for digital assets after their passing.

Here are four easy ways to start securing your digital estate:

  1. Make a list of your digital assets and passwords. Be sure to include your usernames, passwords and security questions and answers for your digital accounts. The list should be stored on a USB flash drive or CD, or as a printout on your computer in an easy-to-find location.
  2. Find a safe place to store this information. Because your will could become public record, you should not include the list of your digital accounts. Instead, store the list of your digital assets and passwords with your will in a safe, easy-to-access location such as a fireproof safe. In doing so, you should make sure your digital executor has access and is aware of your list.
  3. Make a plan for your digital assets. How would you like your digital life to be handled after you aren’t present to manage it? Each asset may need to be managed differently, so it is important to make a guide outlining what happens with each one.
  4. Consult your estate planning attorney. State laws differ in this area. Your attorney will draft an estate plan that addresses your digital assets.

Alert: Security Tip!

Facebook has a special feature for users to choose what happens to their account after their passing. You can choose to create a Legacy Contact. Plan ahead and learn more about this option today.

What Will Be Your Legacy?

Whether online or in life, we will all leave behind a legacy after we pass. If you would like to learn more about ways you can leave a legacy to Hospice of the Valleys with a planned gift, please contact Gina O’Bryant at (951) 200-7800 or to discuss your options.

eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Hospice of the Valleys a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Hospice of the Valleys, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 25240 Hancock Ave. Suite 120, Murrieta, CA 92562, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Hospice of the Valleys or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Hospice of the Valleys as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Hospice of the Valleys as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Hospice of the Valleys where you agree to make a gift to Hospice of the Valleys and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.