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Electronic assets important part of estate planning

Putting together a will or trust can be a complex process, particularly for those with a large number of assets. However, the rapid development of technology may make the estate planning process even more complicated. A few tips may help people in Texas to protect not only their traditional assets but also their electronic ones in today's digital age.

Electronic assets today include website domain names as well as accounts associated with companies such as LinkedIn, Amazon, YouTube, Yahoo! Mail, Facebook and Gmail. Domain names are considered private property, and electronic account contents are also considered private property. In addition, some traditional assets, including savings bonds or common checking accounts, utilize online sites that require accounts and might store financial or personal data that are people's private property.

In their wills or trusts, people can list these assets and their wishes for them, which includes explaining who should have control over and access to these assets, and when. It may also be beneficial to designate a person to delete one's credit card information or old emails containing personal data in the event of one's incapacitation or death. This person might also use the email account to notify friends and other contacts about one's situation. It might also be wise to have this designated person save photos located in online albums before they end up being deleted due to inactivity.

Some people in Texas prefer not to engage in estate planning because they believe it to be a morbid topic. However, by not doing so, they lose the opportunity to dictate what happens to their valuable assets after their deaths. Appropriate legal guidance may help people to complete the estate planning process in a way that best meets their and their families' unique needs.

Source: yumasun.com, "Estate planning in the electronic age", Amy Crawford, Aug. 11, 2015

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