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Surprising assets that should be included in estate planning

Individuals in New York who are considering estate planning strategies may be surprised to hear that social media accounts should also be included in documentation. Furthermore, it may be beneficial for any account that a person regularly accesses to be included in their estate plan. The related passwords and account information should also be provided. Otherwise, loved ones may not be able to access important information, such as bank account details or credit card statements.

A person planning their estate should provide the executor with instructions on what to do with an email account or social media page. Not including this information could create a heavy burden for the executor who is trying to execute the estate. Individuals should review their estate planning documents every year to ensure that any passwords or log-in information is accurately updated and safely stored. Otherwise, the process could be very unpleasant for loved ones.

To protect the integrity of bank and brokerage accounts, email information and other important online data, password-management software can securely protect information by providing a master password that can be used to unlock all other passwords. This software is often free to use and the master password can be provided to the executor.

Estate planning can be a complex process if all aspects of it are not carefully taken into consideration. Creating a living will, delegating a power of attorney, asset valuation and the distribution of assets to heirs are all important components of adequate estate planning. An individual that is planning their estate might find that extra support is necessary to file any related documents properly. An estate planning attorney might be able to help in the process by providing an overview of the specifics that should be included, helping provide information about minimizing inheritance taxes and ensuring that all documents are accurate.

Source: Main Street, "Why Your Estate Planning Should Include Your Facebook Page As Well," Jason Notte, Jan. 7, 2015

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