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Digital estate planning in New York

In an age where digital accounts are becoming commonplace, it is important to account for them in an estate plan. For instance, if an individual has a PayPal account or Facebook profile, those accounts will continue to exist after that individual passes on. Although these accounts may be part of an estate, they can be difficult to track down after the account holder dies.

One digital service called Acorns allows people to have purchases rounded up to the nearest dollar with the change being placed into an investment account. However, the only way to know that this account exists may be to track down a conformation email or gain possession of the deceased's smartphone or tablet and check for the presence of the app. Those who take part in virtual games such as World of Warcraft or Second Life may be in possession of valuable accounts.

A World of Warcraft user once sold a character for almost $9,500 in 2007, and Second Life characters may hold value as well. Therefore, it can be worthwhile to provide a way for friends and family members to access them if necessary. Facebook already allows users to designate a legacy contact who can access the account after they pass on. If an estate plan does not account for these potentially valuable assets, they may remain unclaimed for eternity.

Anything that an individual owns or has the right to use may be included as part of a will or trust. After that person dies, he or she may be able to pass those accounts to a beneficiary or some other entity that has the right to use or control them. Those who are interested in creating, updating or reviewing their current plan may wish to talk to an attorney.

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