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Keep track of your digital assets during estate planning

An important step in estate planning is creating an inventory of your assets. Your executor, or the person you designate in your will to carry out your last wishes, uses the inventory to make sure all of your property passes to your heirs.

It’s likely that some of your assets exist in digital form. Documenting your digital assets along with your physical belongings can help ensure your final wishes are honored and your estate is administered correctly.

Here are a few items to keep in mind as you compile a list of your digital assets:

  • Create a list of passwords. In order to review financial accounts with banks, brokerages or other businesses, your executor will need your current passwords. If you protect passwords with additional encrypted apps, include the master access info. Most importantly, keep your list updated when you change passwords.
  • Be comprehensive. Add URLs, usernames and passwords for nonfinancial accounts (such as your email and online storage sites) to your inventory. Why? These accounts can be essential for retrieving invoices, statements and other paperwork for which you've chosen electronic-only delivery.
  • Don’t forget device access. The physical assets you use to access your digital data include your phone, tablet and computer. That means your executor will need passwords and file names to access those devices. Also, list the location and encryption information for offsite or standalone storage devices, like external drives.

When it comes to planning, keeping track of your online assets can be vital. Call if you have questions how your assets may be affected by state and federal estate tax laws.