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Estate planning for digital property

So much of people's lives are now lived online, and the resulting digital footprint may not be insignificant. It is natural that with so much of one's life online, a person might wonder what becomes of all that data after he or she dies and what can be done to protect it. Estate planning in Washington now takes into account the transfer of digital assets and property.

There are steps a person can take to protect his or her digital data. It is a good idea to create an inventory of all digital assets, including frequent flyer miles, photos, texts and emails. In addition, a record should be kept of usernames, passwords and two-factor authentication information. The inventory should include a comprehensive list of all devices as well as applications that may contain personal or other valuable data that one wishes to protect.

There are some digital assets that can't be transferred. Airlines and credit card companies control their own loyalty programs, and some have transferrable programs, while others do not. Google and Facebook allow for the designation of a person who can handle an account in the event of a person's death. However, books and music purchased online are typically purchased as a license for the account holder only.

A digital executor can be appointed as part of a person's estate planning. This can be the same person as the estate's executor but does not have to be. Making an estate plan for one's digital property in Washington can help protect the data from falling into the hands of a hacker.

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