Estate planning can include digital property

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2018 | Estate Administration & Probate |

For business owners in Georgia and across the United States, estate planning is particularly important. While wills and trusts are frequently considered in people’s personal lives, in many cases, businesses do not receive the estate planning attention that they need to thrive after a principal’s passing. Business estate planning can help to reduce estate taxes, deal with a sole proprietorship and transfer a business through a buy-sell agreement.

Digital assets are one of the more complex areas of estate planning for both personal and business contexts. While the law is clear in regard to physical property and paper documents, digital technology can seem less clear and more confusing. For example, only 39 states have passed a law that allows people to specify a designated executor to access their email and other social media profiles. Without such a law, the company holding the data can determine who can access a person’s account after death.

In some cases, people may want to protect their privacy after death, while in other cases essential bills and documents for the estate are linked to email. Providing access to the executor to these types of accounts can be an important element of estate planning. While wills should not contain username and password information, they can direct the executors to another secure location where they can find a flash drive or password management software.

Estate plans at both personal and business levels can include dealing with digital assets. For a business, it can be important to include them as part of a buy-sell agreement with other owners, for example. An attorney can often be of assistance in this regard.

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