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What should you do about digital assets in an estate plan?

As more of our lives go online, it’s becoming increasingly important to have a plan for what happens to your digital identity.

Many New York residents are finding themselves at a loss when it comes to loved ones’ online presence. Increasingly, family members lose access to important online accounts. Avoid that by creating a plan for digital possessions. Here’s how to plan for digital assets:

Choosing who gets access

The sheer amount of digital information we leave behind means it’s important to have a plan for what happens to the digital information. The biggest part of that plan is choosing who is going to access your digital accounts.

Naming someone as a digital executor can be an easy way to manage email and Facebook accounts. By naming an executor, you can be sure that someone is taking care of your accounts.

Sorting what’s kept and what’s closed

Another aspect of your digital profile is choosing which accounts to save and which to close. Email accounts may hold sentimental value to your loved ones and correspondents. You can “memorialize” your Facebook profile, which keeps it up but does not allow any changes. These are both accounts that can bring comfort to loved ones.

Some things you may want to be closed, like dating profiles or Amazon accounts. Anything you don’t feel comfortable letting others see is okay to close. List out your important accounts and designate which to close and which can stay open.

Allowing access

One of the more difficult questions is how can you let people into your electronics and accounts? One popular method is to use a password aggregator, like LastPass, which will keep all your sensitive passwords in one place.

With a service like this, you only need to give out one master password to give access to all your stored passwords. Once you have your account set up, you don’t need to worry about your many passwords.

It’s important that when you write down your master password, you keep it in a safe place. Do not include it in your will, as wills can be considered public documents. Instead, consider keeping it in a lockbox, security deposit box or with a trusted relative or friend.

Planning for just in case

Having a plan for your digital accounts can help your family follow your wishes. It gives them more control over what happens to your property.

If you have questions as to what to include in your digital property, or how to assign someone to manage your online presence, a skilled estate planning attorney can be a valuable resource.

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