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Digital property important during estate administration planning

Since their creation, computers have completely changed almost every aspect of contemporary life. Computers have made things more efficient and easier to accomplish in Maryland or in any other state. However, computers have also added complications in some areas of life. This can be seen in planning for estate administration and how people deal with digital assets.

When most people think about estate planning, they think about physical assets such as jewelry, cars or real estate. However, with the ongoing technological advancements in computers, the need to take intangible assets into account during estate planning is increasing. A recently released survey showed that 51 percent of American adults use online banking, while 32 percent use their mobile phones for banking purposes. Almost 90 percent of Americans who use the Internet have various digital assets that should be considered in their estate planning.

Most estate planning professionals recommend including digital assets and property in a will or a trust. One should also designate a fiduciary to be responsible for executing one’s wishes after death. An estate plan should give access to important online accounts to one’s chosen fiduciary. Also, a person should be sure to take inventory of all digital property and assets, while also regularly updating estate plans for any significant changes in digital property inventory.

One should also be aware of all of the laws regulating estate administration in Maryland and elsewhere before creating an estate plan. This can help to avoid mistakes that could come with significant consequences for one’s intended heirs. However, each situation is different, and how one applies these laws to one’s estate plan will depend on each person’s estate planning goals.

Source: USA Today, "Estate Planning 101: Don't forget digital assets", Eric McWhinnie, May 25, 2014

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