Estate planning should take digital assets into consideration

There are many reasons why a resident of the Saint Louis, Missouri, area might decide to create an estate plan. The first thing that likely comes to mind is determining how one’s assets will be distributed. While this is of course something that needs to be addressed, there are many other things that should be worked through as well.

For instance, people with young children or children with special needs may want to designate guardians and create plans for how they will be cared for. Other individuals may be seeking to avoid probate or plan ahead so that they may eventually qualify for Medicaid. Something that until recently has not been an issue is what will come of one’s digital assets upon death.

Digital assets are not limited to social media accounts–like LinkedIn, Instagram, Vine, Twitter and Facebook–though deciding how these should be handled is certainly something that should be explored. It also refers to the many online accounts most of us now rely upon to navigate our lives. For example, it is becoming more and more common for individuals to do things like banking online, foregoing paper communication altogether. While the younger generations have taken the lead in this change many older individuals now rely upon online accounts to make life easier as well.

As most readers are likely aware, these accounts are all password protected. To make things easier once someone is gone, all should consider documenting their online accounts and passwords so that those left behind can access the important information.

Creating an estate plan is a big, but important, undertaking. To simplify matters most who make the decision to plan for their future, as well as the future of their loved ones, find it beneficial to work with an estate planning lawyer.

Source: WLS-TV, “Digital assets becoming part of estate planning,” Jason Knowles, March 14, 2014

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POSTED IN: Estate Administration & Probate