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Creating a Digital Estate Plan in New Jersey

Many people prepare for their death at some point throughout their life. This is done with the creation of an estate plan that allows you to decide what you want to happen to your assets when your life is over. These plans can consist of a will, trusts, properties, life insurance policies, financial accounts, a power of attorney, and more. While many in the past accomplished this with paper documentation of their assets, this has changed over time with the growth of technology. 

In today’s world, some people manage much of their lives online. This can include personal items, business information, and finances. It is because of this that it has become increasingly common for people to create digital estate plans. This is done by securing these digital assets in one place. The following are five tips to create a digital estate plan:

Create a List of Digital Assets

To begin the process, an individual must begin by taking inventory of all their digital assets. It is important for business owners to create a separate business list from their personal assets. These lists can include:

  • Computing hardware such as computers, hard drives, flash drives, tablets, smartphones, cameras, etc.
  • Any information stored electronically
  • Online accounts such as email, social media, photo sharing, shopping, storage, websites, blogs, etc.
  • Domain names
  • Intellectual properties

Once this list is together, it is important to leave instructions on how these assets can be accessed by the executor of the estate. This can include any crucial login information, passwords, and answers to security questions. 

Outline Your Wishes

When leaving an estate behind, it must come with instructions on how to handle the assets. Some people may want to save, delete, or transfer their assets when their life is over. If the individual is a business owner, they may want to pass down the business to another person or shut it down entirely. 

Designate a Digital Executor

A person must be named in an estate plan to carry out these responsibilities for a digital estate. This is an individual who can be trusted to act in your and your estate’s best interest. 

Store the Information Safely

One of the last steps is ensuring the digital estate plan is put in a secure location. This is so that it is protected and can be used when necessary. Places it can be stored are with an attorney, an online storage service, or in a safe. It is important to provide the executor with the location of the plan so that it can be accessed in the future. 

Formalize the Plan

In order for an estate plan to be used, it must be legalized. This can be done by naming an executor and the location of the plan in a legal will. In doing so, it is important not to include sensitive information in the document, as it becomes public information after your death.

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