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Digital assets and the distribution of property in Texas estates

When it comes to estate planning, people in Texas may forget the digital assets that many individuals now have. It may not seem as though they have a lot of monetary value, but many are surprised that some of them do. Frequent flier miles, bitcoin accounts, PayPal and iTunes accounts may have monetary value, while others may have only sentimental value. Either way, they may be included in the distribution of property after death.

Figuring out what digital assets need to be distributed might be the easy part of the process. In order to bequeath a digital asset, it is sometimes necessary to fill out forms or otherwise inform the appropriate company of the intention to transfer the account upon death. All usernames and passwords associated with these digital accounts should be left somewhere accessible.

A list delineating the type of account, username and password and to whom the account is left can preserved with other estate planning documents, along with any additional instructions. The same can be done for specific non-digital assets an individual would like to leave to certain parties. It may be necessary to reference lists such as these in an individual's will in order to ensure they are located and followed.

As technology becomes more a part of daily life, the distribution of property typically includes assets that are only accessed digitally. There may come a time when everyone in Texas and elsewhere will have online access to their fully executed estate plan as well. The documents could be available 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world. Nevertheless, it remains important for some or all of the family to know where a person's estate planning documents are kept.

Source: bizjournals.com, Estate planning should include digital assets, Dayton expert says, Olivia Barrow, Nov. 27, 2013

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