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Addressing online assets is crucial to estate planning process

When Clark County residents set some time aside to address their estate, one of the last things on their mind will be their Twitter account or their Facebook login. Many people may not even consider these things "assets" -- but they are, and if you do not properly address these topics, you and your family will be in danger of losing out on your digital assets.

Consider all of the photos you have on your Facebook profile; consider the networks you have built on your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts; think about all of the digital files you have saved or purchased on your iTunes account. These are just a few examples of important critical assets that you will want to address in your estate plan. Otherwise, you risk losing priceless photos and vast libraries of media files.

Every online entity or digital company has a different way of dealing with the accounts of deceased people. Some companies will simply delete the account, while others may not have a hard and fast rule about account deletion.

Transferring these accounts can be quite tricky, though. There are licensing issues at play; and if the estate does not adequately or explicitly make clear how he or she wants his or her accounts handled, they could be at the mercy of basic (or nonexistent) rules. Improved legislation and oversight in this area would certainly help; but in the meantime, it is important for people planning their estate to look into wills, trusts and other tactics they can use to protect their online and digital assets.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Make Sure You Know Who Will Inherit Your Twitter Account," Arden Dale, Sept. 18, 2013

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