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Do digital assets mean more frequent estate planning updates?

| Feb 6, 2019 | Estate Planning |

Just a decade or so ago, Lake Charles families shared pictures through physical photo albums, flipping through the pages while visiting with one another. Now, sharing a photo album tends to be a digital task that can be accomplished by a single click of a button. This might have made day-to-day life easier for most people, but it has made estate planning somewhat more complicated.

Many items of sentimental value — including pictures, videos and even letters — are now stored in digital format rather than physically stowed away somewhere. Passing on a digital item is more involved than when bequeathing a physical item. This is because digital assets are usually locked away behind usernames and passwords, and heirs rarely have access to that important information.

It is not just pictures that some heirs are having trouble accessing. Things of more value like digital currency, bank accounts and investments can be effectively out of reach for heirs when they do not have the proper login credentials. This means that simply listing a digital asset in a will and the person who should receive it is not enough, but there is an easy fix — include the necessary login credentials.

This seems like a fairly straightforward fix, but it also necessitates more regular estate planning updates. Digital accounts frequently prompt users to update their passwords, some users reset theirs frequently as a security measures and others still change theirs after forgetting the original login information. This is not the only complicating factor of estate planning with digital assets either, so those in Lake Charles who are concerned about passing on these items to their heirs should be vigilant in planning and updating their estate.

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