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Online assets should not be ignored when creating an estate plan

It's easy to overlook certain assets when preparing an estate plan. One item Florida readers may forget due to the recent development of such items are online assets. Online accounts and other files may become inaccessible making it extremely difficult for one's heirs to close the estate.

E-mail and brokerage accounts are becoming commonplace. Bitcoin accounts are also playing a more important role in our portfolio. There may also be a number of other items online more sentimental in nature that those left behind may still wish to access.

Having an inventory of all one's valuables - including online assets - can be essential. Asset owners may wish to discover a way to organize these assets so that these are not lost in the event that something does occur.

Some essential steps could include:

  • Listing one's online accounts, subscriptions and memberships on a spreadsheet that include passwords, account numbers, etc. (Security precautions should be taken so only trusted individuals can access the information.)
  • Deciding upon who should be a trustee.
  • Making certain that the trustee will have access to these assets in the event of changed circumstances.
  • Making certain that adequate instructions are provided as to distribution of the estate.

It's easy to forget certain steps when creating an estate plan. Therefore it's a good idea to speak to an experienced attorney in this area to make certain that everything is covered. These attorneys can assist in the preparation of a variety of legal documents that could make the entire estate planning process go more smoothly.

 

Source: CNBC, "Protect online assets with a digital estate plan," Thomas Henske, May 19, 2014

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