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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
Fax: (201) 997-9567
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Factoring digital assets into estate planning

When Facebook recently updated their privacy policies following a father's plea to view his deceased son's "year in review" video, the act garnered a lot of attention. This kind of estate planning is nothing new, even though most people don't give much thought to what, if anything, happens to their online accounts after they die. From Facebook and Twitter to bank accounts and 401K plans, most people have a whole other world of personal assets to factor into their estate planning endeavors.

In today's digital environment, most people maintain a wide variety of Internet accounts, all requiring usernames, passwords and other unique identifiers. When they die, the data stored in these accounts could die with them if they don't take appropriate measures ahead of time. Some sites like Facebook may work with survivors to recover personal data, but it's probably not a good idea to count on that happening. Facebook's recent policy changes make it easier for surviving family members to gain at least some say in how their loved one's account is handled following death. In some cases, Facebook will delete an account upon request or memorialize a deceased person's page.

One man recently added a digital assets category to his estate planning in order to make sure his family can access his online assets if he dies or becomes incapacitated. He says that with ever-evolving security measures, it has become harder than ever to access accounts without the proper credentials.

In America, almost 75% of citizens maintain some type of social networking accounts and while it might seem unimportant, family members will likely care about accessing stored data upon a loved one's death. Working with a qualified attorney experienced in estate planning and will execution is one way people can plan for the future and decide what happens to their social or business Internet accounts after they die.

Source: ABC 7, "Digital assets becoming part of estate planning" Jason Knowles, Mar. 14, 2014

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