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Digital assets to consider in New Jersey estate administration

Estate administration may be a subject that few people want to think about ahead of time, but doing so can help ensure that a person's wishes will be followed once they pass away. One issue that New Jersey residents can think about now to make later estate administration easier is that of digital assets. This can include items like domain names and web servers, photos that are stored electronically, online reward programs such as frequent flier miles and online banking accounts. There are several steps that a person can take in order to protect their digital assets, which is an arena that many people overlook.

The first thing to tackle is itemizing all virtual assets that should be considered. Since it's hard to know what is actually going to seem valuable to heirs in the future, it can be a good rule of thumb to include all of the websites and online accounts that a person possesses. This list should also include any usernames and passwords that will be needed.

The next step Is to consider all of the files and software that a person has purchased or uses regularly. This can include email and social media accounts, but should also include all forms of digital media that a person has stored on their computers.

To that end, individuals should prepare a detailed list of instructions that goes along with the list of digital assets to help future estate administration go smoothly. This could include instructions on which accounts need to be transferred into another person's name or shut down entirely, along with how to distribute the digital assets after their original owner dies. While these may not be particularly fun activities to engage in, a little advanced planning now will likely make things easier on New Jersey heirs later.

Source: Gazettes.com, "ESTATE PLANNING: Take Care Of Your Digital Legacy," Curtis Kaiser, Dec. 31, 2012

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