On March 18, 2014

Many Colorado residents have prepared a will, named an executor and even created some trusts as part of a comprehensive estate plan. All would seem to be in order, but the Internet has created a new category for estate planning concerns. It includes all the financial accounts and social media sites that people use in their everyday lives. Right now there are very few clear rules that govern what happens to them once the owner has died.

Most people have an email account, and it is also common to have social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook, a blog or online trading accounts. However, a recent survey by an online legal services company indicated that most people have no idea what happens to these digital assets when they die. There aren’t any federal laws governing this issue, and most states leave the decisions about these accounts up to the companies that manage them.

Experts say the best thing to do is for individuals to inventory and list everything in their digital lives. A list of sites and passwords can either be written down or saved on a flash drive that is then locked away in a safety deposit box. Another list should be made as to the beneficiaries who will receive this property.

Digital assets are a new aspect of the estate planning world. Since states offer little direction and tend to leave decisions up to the companies running the sites, it may be best for the person making estate plans to include a provision for them in a will. It may be possible to name people in the will to handle digital issues, and they can even be separated by financial and social accounts. It is important that the person who takes on this task is trustworthy and tech savvy.

Source: The Motley Fool, “How to Prepare Your Digital Assets for Death“, Daryl Paranada, March 09, 2014

Categories: Estate Planning

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