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Estate planning needs to include social media

In this day and age, most Texas residents enjoy using the Internet and probably have a number of online accounts. These accounts, such as Facebook, online bank accounts and others, usually require special user names and passwords for access. Some of these accounts may contain information that family members will want to access after the account holder has passed away. For this reason, it is important to include a list of online accounts, along with their associated user names and passwords as a part of the estate planning process.

Individuals who fail to create a list of user names and passwords for those they leave behind are instead leaving a very big headache. It only takes a few minutes to create a list of user names and passwords when one is owner of the accounts, but, if it is never done, then heirs and family members will have to endure a long legal process to gain access to the accounts. There is no better time than now to create such a list, and the beginning of the year is a great time to remember to update that list.

An easier way to organize a password list is to use password-management software. This software allows individuals to maintain their password lists and have access to them all with a single password. By giving that single password to a spouse, executor or trusted family member, this will ensure that loved ones will have access to online accounts in the event of death or incapacitation.

When creating a password list, do not leave out social media accounts, such as Facebook. Although it might seem like these accounts are merely for fun, family members might want access to a Facebook account in order to preserve the many pictures and other memories contained inside it. After the list of passwords and user names is created, Texas residents can speak with a qualified estate planning lawyer to determine how best to incorporate the contents of that list in legal documentation.

Source: philly.com, "Why Your Estate Planning Should Include Your Facebook Page As Well", Jason Notte, Jan. 7, 2015

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