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Estate planning for people with digital assets

Pennsylvania residents who are looking to create an estate plan should include their digital assets as well. These assets could be anything from a Facebook account to the password to get into a computer or flash drive. As with physical items, an individual will want to create a list of digital assets that need to be accounted for. Ideally, an individual will include the username and password of his or her primary email account.

This is worth doing because that is where passwords to other accounts are likely going to be sent. If a password or username for other accounts are lost or not included in a list, family members may be able to have that information sent to the email account. Those creating an estate plan should also determine if data is to be kept or deleted after a certain period of time.

Facebook allows people to designate a legacy contact to handle an account after they die. Google allows for information to either be destroyed or accessed by up to 10 people after a predetermined period of time has passed. To ensure that information is handled properly, an individual can choose to designate a digital estate executor to work alongside the executor for the rest of the estate.

The use of wills and trusts may allow an individual to determine what happens to physical and digital assets after passing. By putting these instructions in writing, it may be less likely for a legal challenge to delay or prevent them from being carried out. Putting assets in a trust may further work to transfer assets in a timely manner as they generally won't be subject to the probate process. An attorney may assist in creating an estate plan and associated documents.

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