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Estate planning in a digital age

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2019 | Estate Planning

People living in Georgia and around the country often understand the importance of putting together an estate plan. This includes writing a will, designating beneficiaries on insurance policies and investment accounts, and considering end-of-life planning in the form of living wills, powers of attorney and advance directives. Many people also hold assets in form of online content, social media accounts, email accounts and loyalty points earned through various businesses. Digital assets can be a tricky area for many executors and heirs to manage.

Many individuals now have some type of online presence, usually in the form of email accounts and participation in social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. In addition, people may maintain blogs, photo collections or other types of content. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult for executors to get access to these platforms and accounts after someone dies. As a result, these assets may be vulnerable to hackers who could steal or exploit the deceased’s content.

Other types of digital assets include films, music and books. In some cases, the sellers of these digital assets make it clear that ownership is not absolute and that rights to this content revert to the seller after a purchaser dies. Other types of digital property, such as loyalty points from hotels, airlines and other businesses, may likewise revert to program ownership after a member dies, but some companies allow heirs to inherit airline miles and other membership rewards.

Individuals who are concerned about digital assets may wish to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. The attorney may be able to guide the management of digital accounts, including secure ways of ensuring that an executor has access to account logins and passwords. An attorney may also be able to review a current estate plan to ensure that it meets the client’s needs.