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Why include your digital assets in your estate plan?

When people make plans for the future, they generally consider what will happen with their physical assets and their wealth. However, a complete estate plan should take into account all assets, including digital ones. After someone’s death, he or she may have online accounts and certain types of intangible assets that a family may want to access.

Addressing digital assets in an estate plan will include instructions and permissions for things like closing accounts, deleting accounts, accessing funds, halting monthly subscription services and more. It is also possible to leave instructions for a family regarding online profiles and social media. Failure to have plans for these things could lead to complications for loved ones and family members.

There are laws that may give the executor of the estate permission to access online profiles. However, a decedent has the right to decide what will happen to his or her online presence. By outlining these preferences in an estate plan, it will be clear to a family what a decedent wants. It may be necessary to have documentation of login information and passwords for certain types of accounts. It is also possible to name someone to act specifically as digital executor.

When creating an estate plan, it is important not to overlook intangible assets and accounts. The extent to which digital assets should be addressed specifically in a plan depends on the types of accounts a person has. An assessment of one’s digital life by a legal professional can identify the estate planning steps that are necessary for thorough protection.