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How to create a digital estate plan

When Ohio residents create an estate plan, they might also want to consider whether they need one for digital assets as well. People might not think of social media or email accounts as assets, but they may need to leave instructions about what should be done with these. In some cases, such as with a cryptocurrency account or even a domain name, the asset might have significant value.

The first step is to make a list of all digital assets. People should include passwords or access codes and consider who they want to manage the various assets. If they know someone who is particularly tech savvy, they might want to appoint that person as digital executor to manage all the accounts.

Some companies already have frameworks in place to help others manage a loved one's account. Facebook allows a person to designate a legacy contact who can control a memorialized account. If no one is appointed, the account may still be memorialized, but it cannot be changed. Google allows users to appoint people to be notified if the account is inactive for a certain amount of time. There is also an option to have data deleted. Google sends warnings to the user before taking either of these steps.

Other sites might also have specific procedures. People should review the terms of service and find out how this can be done since some sites may prohibit others logging in using a person's information. People might also have photos and other items in digital form that they want certain loved ones to have, and this can be specified in the will as well. Specific instructions for loved ones taking over account might include notifying other site users about a person's death, posting a particular message or deleting the account or certain information.

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