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Digital assets and estate planning

Nevada is one of the states that has adopted the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. This is important in giving fiduciaries access to a person's digital accounts. However, many people might not think about digital assets in connection to setting up an estate account even though they can have both material and sentimental value.

The RUFADAA allows a person who owns digital property to give someone else access to that property. Without this explicit consent, the fiduciary may not be permitted to go into a person's accounts. A person should think about which assets may be particularly valuable. These could range from bitcoins to popular social media accounts to objects in online games and more. Other assets, such as photos, may have nonmonetary value for a person and a family. A person should think about who should receive these digital assets and what should be done with them.

Some companies have set up ways for a person to designate someone to take over an account in the event of the person's death. For example, on Facebook, a person can be appointed to take over the account or to memorialize or delete it. Google allows users to designate someone to be notified and possibly get data when an account is dormant for a specified period of time.

Like many other aspects of estate planning, it is essential for people to discuss their wishes with family members to ensure that they understand and can carry out those wishes. The area of digital assets is still one that is new and undefined in many ways, and a person may want to discuss with an attorney how they should best be handled as part of a fiduciary's estate administration duties. As with physical documents, a list of digital assets may assist fiduciaries in accessing them although they must have the legal right to do so.

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