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Digital assets may complicate estate planning

Estate planning tends to be more straightforward under Georgia law when an individual only has physical assets. However, it is not uncommon for people today to have a variety of digital assets. These are almost anything that is stored on a server or accessed on a computer. Assets may include email accounts, bank accounts and brokerage accounts. They can also include a social media profile or a subscription to an e-commerce site.

The first step in creating an estate plan that takes these assets into account is to take an inventory. In addition to listing all the items that need to be included in an estate plan, be sure to have the password to an account or other important information available. This should all be listed in a will or kept where an executor will be able to find it.

It is possible to name an executor who is responsible solely for dealing with digital assets. This person should have detailed instructions about how to access accounts and what should be done with them. It is also important that the executor has the right to access an account. If not, there is a chance that it could be frozen or closed without warning. Ideally, an individual will have a team of advisers helping to create a plan that takes this into consideration.

An attorney may provide assistance in structuring a complex estate plan. This may help resolve inheritance issues or other problems that may prevent assets from being transferred or accounts closed in a timely manner. A lawyer may also ensure that a will, trust or other document is structured in accordance with state law. If not, changes may be made to bring them into compliance.

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