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How does Facebook factor into estate planning?

New Jersey residents who are beginning the process of planning their estate often work with a series of lists. These may include lists of assets, lists of heirs and lists of the documents required to put their wishes into a cohesive estate planning solution. Often absent from those lists are details about social media accounts, which, in our digital age, is a topic that deserves attention.

Take, for example, an individual's Facebook page. While many people look at social media as a valuable tool for recreation and relaxation, the files and information stored on such sites are actually a type of asset. As such, social media plays a role within estate planning.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Instagram and other resources often hold a large volume of data, documents and photo files. For other family members, these files represent an invaluable asset, and one that can be easily lost without the proper precautionary measures. The best way to prevent such a loss is to make a master list of all relevant accounts, as well as the user names and passwords associated with those accounts.

Next, New Jersey residents must let their loved ones know that such a list has been created, and where to find it when the time comes. One of the best ways to ensure that this information is available when needed is to include a copy with other estate planning documents. In this way, the people who will treasure those memories will be able to access the appropriate sites when the time comes.

Source: mainstreet.com, "Why Your Estate Planning Should Include Your Facebook Page As Well", Jason Notte, Jan. 7, 2015

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