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Estate planning options for digital assets

In today's world, there are few areas of life that are not affected by technology. One's family life, career and personal pursuits are all impacted by technological advancements. For many in Oklahoma, online storage is a new concept, while others have fully embraced cloud-based storage of video, music and other types of files. In some cases, these online collections are of significant value and should be included within the estate planning process.

For example, consider an individual who has spent decades amassing a collection of rare musical recordings and has stored those files online. Unless that collection is specifically addressed within his or her estate plan, those assets could be lost to her heirs. The best way to ensure that loved ones can access and gather digital assets is by creating and implementing a thorough plan to address the matter.

This begins my making a written list of all digital assets along with the information that an individual would need to access those files. This document should be stored in the same place as other estate planning documents. It is also important to discuss these assets with loved ones so that cloud-based storage is not overlooked as the family collects assets.

Oklahoma residents can also include digital assets within their will. This gives a person the opportunity to clearly outline which loved one will receive specified assets. It also reduces confusion among heirs. For those who are concerned that their loved ones are unfamiliar with digital storage, it may be worthwhile to make a copy of those files on a disk or portable drive and to include the location of those devices in the estate planning documents.

Source: brainerddispatch.com, "Commentary: Estate planning for digital assets", Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, Nov. 13, 2015

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