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Digital assets should be part of estate administration plans

With the advance of technology, people's lives are becoming more digitized with much of their financial and personal lives being stored online. This can make life more convenient in most cases in Maryland and other states. However, it can also cause problems during estate administration if one does not take certain variables into consideration when creating an estate plan. There are several important aspects to consider when creating a digital estate plan.

The first thing one should do when creating a digital estate plan is to create a list of financial websites which one can access. This should include online bank accounts, brokerage accounts, credit card accounts, mortgage and loan accounts as well as utility bills. Although these may be obvious, other more commonly forgotten accounts include: Amazon, eBay and PayPal.

One should also name a digital executor, the individual or entity responsible for managing these digital accounts after one has passed away. This person or entity should be given a list of the digital accounts as well as passwords and directions on how to access these accounts. One should also provide the digital executor with instructions on how one would like these digital assets managed and what to do with the digital data stored within these online accounts.

Lastly, it is important to have a safe place to store this information in order to prevent identity theft. Documents containing this information should be kept in a secured place with the rest of the other estate planning documents; this will help make the estate administration process more efficient. Additionally, one should ensure that all estate planning documents are properly drafted in order to prevent these legal documents from being challenged in probate court in Maryland or elsewhere.

Source:, 5 tips for digital estate planning, Tom Nawrocki, Oct. 13, 2013

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