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Protecting Valuable Digital Assets

Attorney Rob McCarthy

Do you own valuable digital assets without knowing it? The average American owns valuable digital assets across various electronic devices sometimes without even knowing it. Many have not planned for what happens to these assets upon death. What is a digital asset?
Digital assets include:
Email accounts
Documents and files stored online
Social networking accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn
Music stored online
Shopping accounts like Amazon and EBay
Online bank account
Automatic bill pay accounts
Paypal account

Issues that ought to be considered when planning for the distribution and disposition of digital assets are:

Who will gain access to and manage the accounts
How will your personal representative get access
How your digital assets can be transferred to beneficiaries
How will your loved ones know where to find your digital assets

Two steps may be taken now to protect digital assets:

1. Make a list of your digital accounts and include in the list user names, passwords, answers to security questions and other information necessary to access the digital assets. Make sure that your list is stored in a secure location so that the list does not fall into the wrong hands.

2. Include terms in your estate plan that include your digital assets.

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