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Don't forget about digital assets when creating an estate plan

Many Massachusetts residents have a significant online life. When estate planning, those digital assets need to be taken into consideration just like any other assets. Failing to ensure that family members, or at least the executor of the estate, have access to online assets could be disastrous since current law has yet to catch up to technology and obtaining access to certain accounts (financial or social) can be problematic. 

There are a number of services with which a person's digital information can be stored online. This would allow a designated person -- or persons if desired -- access to all of the necessary information. Otherwise, tracking down digital assets could be just as problematic as gaining access without a username and password. Some will even help with estate planning documents, but they cannot account for every individual's needs.

However, these services should not be used to replace legal advice. Furthermore, trusting one company or source to keep all of a person's important information could be dangerous. There are too many potential problems with having such important information online as well. As many people have discovered, cyber security is not impenetrable.

Massachusetts law might not have caught up with the digital age, but many of the attorneys who work in this field are doing what they can to help their clients pass on and protect their digital assets. Estate planning has always been an individual endeavor since it can be tailored to any number of circumstances. Everyone should be able to decide the fate of his or her assets, even the digital ones.

Source: ksdk.com, "Digital estate planning guide", April 29, 2016

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