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An estate plan may need to accommodate digital assets

The role technology plays in daily life is ever-expanding for the average American. When a Michigan resident or family decides to venture into the task of creating an estate plan, digital assets may need to be addressed as part of that plan. Regardless of how vast a person's digital life is, any online account that contains a password, relates to finance or even personal documents and pictures should all be considered digital assets.

Social media plays a large role in some lives and can provide a source of personal information and pictures. Accounts like these and others that are password protected need to be addressed. This may mean designating a person to retrieve information or access those accounts.

Files, such as pictures, music and movies may languish online without properly designating a person to retrieve or use those files. Money changes hands online in numerous ways. If there is a family business or any business venture that involves commerce online, those issues need to be specifically addressed independent of a person's other finances.

Just as with traditional assets, if there is no specific plan outlined in an estate plan, a person's digital assets may be fought over or lost forever. Michigan residents may have very precise wishes for digital files, accounts and sources of income. Because this is generally a new area of estate planning, it may be overlooked and under-appreciated as a necessary part of the process. Before considering an estate plan complete, be sure to review any digital accounts and also look on our website for more specific information about what digital assets should be part of an  estate plan.

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