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Planning an Estate? Don’t Forget About Your Digital Life


People traditionally think of money, properties and other tangible assets when they are considering an estate plan. These possessions are certainly important to include in a will or trust, but there may be other aspects of a person’s life that should also be considered.

Now that more and more people in Los Angeles are keeping much of their identity and information online, digital presence is becoming increasingly important. There are things that we do online every day which may need to be addressed in an effective estate plan.

When a person passes away, the life they lead online may continue as if nothing has happened. This can include automatic payments from a bank, subscription services, emails and even a Facebook account. Rather than leave these things unattended, people may want to consider assigning a person to execute certain aspects of online activities.

With a digital executor in place, a person can give them access to certain accounts and services. While this person may not be able to alter this data, they can get to it in order to cancel services or find critical pieces of information.

But it is important for people to remember that the executor will need login information, including the websites, user names and passwords. It can also be helpful for them to have the answers to various security answers. Keeping this information updated and, more importantly, in a safe place that is accessible only to the appropriate person at the appropriate time, will also be necessary.

There are many aspects of an estate plan that a person may not consider on their own, or they may not know exactly what steps to take in order to develop such a plan. It is for these reasons that many people in California work with an estate planning attorney in order to ensure the plan they do have is clear, executable and comprehensive.

Source: CBS News, “The essentials of online estate planning,” Dave Johnson, July 15, 2013

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