People do not think about digital property in estate planning

With the current laws in place, there is no clear answer as to who can access and manage your online assets if you become incapacitated or die.

Know what you have

Make a list of all of your digital accounts, along with usernames and passwords, password prompts and security questions. Using a digital password manager is often the easiest way to keep that information secure. Additionally, it may be wise to keep these accounts and passwords separate from the rest of your estate planning records. In the future, there may come a time when these documents will be shared with the court and therefore become a part of public record.

Backup

Depending on the service provider and the social media platform, in some cases, there is an option to give additional people access. Facebook, Google and Twitter are three of the major social media outlets to offer the ability to notify the people listed on the account if there is no activity for a period of time.

Write it down

Make your intentions clear by writing them out. Traditional estate planning methods are not always the best for digital assets. In these documents, you can choose to name an “executor” to manage your affairs. Declaring your wishes makes it easier for everyone involved in this process.

Many states are considering legislation that could help people manage their digital assets. The proposed law would allow an executor, named in your planning documents, to oversee your digital estate.

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Traci Hutton, Attorney At Law - Family Law Attorney

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