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Important steps for digital estate planning

Nowadays, a solid estate plan might require a close look at your digital footprint, in addition to having important documents such as a will and a durable power of attorney in place. What you need depends in part upon your lifestyle and how much you embraced social media and other digital platforms.

A smart approach in this area could make things easier for everyone.

Have a password plan

With so much of your information online and protected by passwords, Consumers Reports recommends setting up a plan to share your passwords. This becomes necessary to pay bills, contact pension plans and Social Security and other relevant agencies or companies.

Some people employ a password manager to keep track of this information. This method has the benefit of allowing multiple people to access the account. Doing nothing in this area of planning will make it difficult for loved ones to gain access to critical information should you become ill or pass away.

Designate a legacy contact

Depending upon your situation, you could become ill to the extent that your accounts become inactive. This could complicate matters for all parties. To avoid this scenario, designate a legacy contact who gets notified should you lose the ability to log on to your accounts.

Several platforms—Google, Facebook and Apple—provide programs that notify key people because of computer inactivity. These programs have safeguards in place to protect against identity theft and other criminal activity.

You should include your digital life in your estate plan and update it as needed. You should also communicate your actions with your loved ones and heirs.

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