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An estate plan for the digital age

Jun 7, 2018 | Estate Planning

Many people don’t immediately think of their online lives when planning for the future, but most people spend a significant portion of their time online. Whether it is Facebook, points rewards programs or email accounts, most people probably have some type of digital asset that will need to be settled after their death. Incorporating digital assets has become a larger part of most people’s estate plan, and in Florida, being ready to transfer administrative power to these assets can help preserve their financial and sentimental value. 

According to the Pew Research Center, about 25 percent of American adults say that they are almost constantly online. They also report that 77 percent of adults go online daily. When one considers the amount of socializing, earning and financial management that happens online, it makes total sense to incorporate one’s online activities into an estate plan.

Not to mention, it can be notoriously difficult for other people to access one’s records. There are terms of service to negotiate, and sometimes, an account will be closed without the opportunity to recover important information. The value of digital assets can also be underestimated. Points and rewards have a value, as well as domain names that can be sold. Intellectual property may be important to some, and sentimental value of photos and memories is important to nearly all people. 

By incorporating explicit instructions and access to passwords into one’s estate plan, an individual in Florida can make the process of settling an estate much easier. After a person decides how the digital estate will be handled, and compiles a list of accounts and passwords, the person may want more help. Reaching out to an estate planning attorney who can add language to one’s estate documents can prove very useful in this endeavor.