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Be sure to protect your digital assets in your estate plan

Estate planning is a complex process, and the best laid plans can prove very difficult to implement if you do not take special care to leave your executor the tool he or she needs to abide by your instructions. These days, many assets are solely or primarily digital assets, so it is important that you make appropriate provisions to ensure that your digital assets are included in your estate plan, as well as ensuring that your executor has authority and the proper information needed to access your digital assets.

In order to properly include your digital assets in your estate plan, several steps must take place. First, it is usually helpful to sit down and list out all of your digital assets. In this case, we can think of digital assets as anything that requires you to provide a username and password.

This could include access to bank accounts and various investments, or a mortgage holder, but may also include websites or domains that you own, or even social media profiles. Now that many people maintain a presence on a number of social platforms like Facebook or Instagram, you should think about how you want your executor to handle your passing on your social media accounts, as well your other assets.

It highly advisable to subscribe to a service that collects and securely holds all of your online login information in one place. These services are known as online vaults. An online vault ensures that all your usernames and passwords are securely held in one place so that your executor can find them easily. If you have any further questions about making your wishes known and protecting your assets, do not hesitate to reach out to an estate planning attorney.

Source: Kiplinger, "Digital Assets Need to Be a Part of Your Estate Plan," John M. Goralka, June 15, 2017

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