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Tax Blog

The Evolution of Estate Planning

The digital age has brought many advantages to modern society, with the continued shift into an age of digital convenience former barriers of investment and diversification have left from the grasp of a few into the hands of the many. Previously when a person began to consider planning for the protection of assets after their passing a simple execution of a will and establishing powers of attorney in regards to healthcare decisions and real property was completed by an attorney.

Today, with more and more transactions occurring online an attorney needs to be trained and more aware of the possible methods a client may have employed in the establishment of their estate. Years ago, upon the death of a loved one the family or the executor of the estate, would go through paper files and mail to create a list of accounts. However, today what is more needed than the standard paper trail is also the creation of a “digital inventory;” this is especially important with the push to go paperless in modern banking.

Here are items to consider/bring when meeting with your attorney in the process of planning your estate. 1) Develop a comprehensive list of all online banking accounts, financial accounts, investment accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s, and mutual fund accounts and how to access them, (include the account name and number, purpose of the account, user name, and password to access them). 2) List all bills you pay online, loans, lines of credit and credit cards owed, (include the account name and number, purpose of the account, amount owed, user name, and password to access them).

You should also list email accounts, websites and blogs that you maintain as well as all social media accounts, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; especially if these social media accounts generate any revenue for you. Finally don’t forget the tangible devices under your control, include smartphones, tablets, laptops and personal computers; write down how to access them upon your death. Once all of this new digital age material is gathered, meet with your professional attorney and establish the guidelines for the deposition of all these important factors in modern day estate planning. If you have additional questions feel free to contact the professionals at the Center at 618-997-3436 for assistance in planning your estate.

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