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When creating an estate plan, don't forget your digital assets

Take a minute and think about your assets. Consider everything you own and everything you plan to own; think about anything you might inherit one day and don't forget about property you share with other people. 

When you mentally accumulated all your assets, did you remember to include your digital assets? Many people fail to think about these. After all, as the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind. However, when you are creating your estate plan, it is crucial that you include any digital assets because they can be just as valuable as physical assets. Below are some common examples of digital assets that you may want to address in your estate planning documents.

  • Photographs, either stored in the cloud or in programs like Shutterfly
  • Online financial accounts
  • Virtual stores on Etsy or Ebay
  • Social media accounts
  • Blogs
  • Virtual property in online games
  • Domain names
  • Digital currency like Bitcoin
  • Music or video libraries
  • Email accounts
  • Podcasts

These are just some of the digital assets you may have that can benefit from legal protection. Even if you don't think they are valuable or important now, your loved ones and others affected by your engagement with theses assets may think differently.

An article in the Journal of Estate & Tax Planning provides some insight into how you might go about protecting your digital assets, though you can also discuss your options with your estate planning attorney. Having a comprehensive estate plan in place that protects all your assets can give you -- and your loved ones -- comfort in knowing that you have thought about and made plans for the future.

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