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Your Digital Assets

Do you have digital or online assets? If you think about it, you probably have quite a few; online banking, facebook, twitter, you tube, blogs, e-mail (probably several), online crafting. And that's just scratching the surface of today's digital world. Did you know, that almost all of these sites have stipulations not awarding access to these accounts to someone else no matter what. You may have a loved one who is incapacitated or who has passed away and you want pictures from their site, or e-mails etc and you have no right to get them. Or perhaps you very specifically don't want someone to get access to them.

I always recommend my clients get a power of Attorney so that if they are incapacitated or unavailable someone can handle their affairs. But what about all those digital activities they have going? Traditionally, these have not been apart of any estate planning and yet, so much of our lives are tied up with these accounts. Often problems arise because people do not OWN these assets, they have licenses to use an account with google, facebook and twitter etc but they themselves do not own it. They do, however, own what they may upload or have within those sites. But as I stated, they can't award that access in a Will or Power of Attorney just by saying so. The language has to be explicit and the proper information handed over.

Because we have little to no law on this subject, though much is pending and legislation is currently being pushed through, it's important to have a plan in place to deal with these digital assets! Have you discussed with your estate planner who can have access to these accounts? What you want done with them? Do you want a different person to handle those affairs compared to your others? Did you know facebook offers to memorialize the account of a deceased person?

With so much of our lives tied up digitally, make sure you've outlined for your family what to do and how to do it! It's important to not only protect those accounts from fraud, but to insure that what does belong to you, is kept safe and/or handed down to your loved ones!

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