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Don't lose sight of digital assets when drafting wills and trusts

Everything related to computers and the internet play essential roles in the lives of people nationwide, including New York. For that reason, it is crucial not to lose sight of digital assets when drafting estate plans to deal with wills and trusts. Surviving loved ones will need access to essential documents and information related to digital assets.

Computers and related hardware like flash drives, external hard drives, digital music players, smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, e-readers and other devices form a part of digital assets. Then there is the electronically stored data and information that could be on a physical device, online, or in the cloud. Upon death, someone must have access to online accounts like social media, email, shopping, video gaming, video sharing, blogs, websites and storage accounts.

Some individuals might have domain names, copyrighted materials, intellectual property, trademarks and code they might have written. As a part of estate planning, the means of access must be specified, and sharing login details and passwords is crucial for the management of a digital estate. Along with a list of access details, a list of the digital assets and their locations must be prepared.

For many people in New York, the prospect of drafting wills, establishing trusts and other estate plans is daunting. This often leads to procrastination, which can quickly be resolved by discussing the matters with an experienced estate planning attorney. Legal counsel can assess the different types of assets and explain the laws and the options available to ease the process for the surviving family members after the testator's death, and making sure that even digital assets are passed on to the intended recipients.

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