How to Handle Your Electronic Estate

June 5, 2012

As recently as a decade ago, most estate planning attorneys were not using terms like “electronic estate” or “digital property” with the average estate planning client. Times have changed and so should your estate plan.
Your estate plan should cover all of your property whether it be personal or real, tangible of intangible. In the 21st century, that includes digital property. Take a minute to stop and think how much of your life is now in some sort of electronic or digital format. Family photos, your address book, your bank account and bills, are all stored electronically if your are like a growing number of Americans. Much of this digital information may be property that should be accounted for in your estate plan.
Take the time now to make a list of where everything is stored. Include websites, account numbers, passwords and anything else that is relevant. Then decide who you want to “own” your electronic estate when you die. If all of your family photos are stored in the clouds, for example, who do you want to have them when you die? Likewise, who do you want to be able to access your social media accounts such as Facebook or Twitter? Once you have made these decisions, sit down with your estate planning attorney and make provisions for your electronic estate in your estate plan. Future revisions may become necessary as the laws pertaining to digital property change.

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