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Digital estate planning a new concept for many

People around the world are engaging in digital activity in many different aspects of their lives. They meet friends online, they do their shopping online from their living rooms and they even bank online. So, what happens with all of these accounts after someone dies?

The answer to that question seems to be evolving as more and more people with digital assets die, and major online companies have to decide what to do with these accounts. While there might be ways for some family members to leave their account information to their loved ones, it is important that this part of an estate plan is carefully reviewed with an estate planning attorney.

An attorney can help make sure that a family is getting the information that a person wants their family to receive, but they can also help address concerns related to privacy policies of some online accounts. It turns out that giving your name and password to a loved on can actually violate the user privacy policies put in place by the company who runs the online account.

This could lead to legal action on behalf of the company in some cases. Therefore it is important that people review the policies associated with their online accounts and make sure that their estate plan and the policies can work together. If there appears to be a conflict, an estate planning attorney may be able to help a person understand their rights and how they can pass important information and account control to their loved ones.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “'Digital assets': the new frontier for estate planning,” Tim Grant, May 13, 2013

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