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Here is an easy way to talk about estate planning over the holidays

If you have family members who live considerably far away, the holidays may be an opportune time to discuss matters of estate planning, as everyone gathers in one place to celebrate and be with loved ones.

And while planning for a time when you are no longer around may not be the easiest topic to broach, there is one estate-related topic that is likely to come up anyway: social media. As we've noted previously, a comprehensive estate plan should address digital assets such as social media accounts, and discussing what might happen to our digital legacies may be helpful in getting family members to think about other serious estate planning issues.

After all, your digital legacy may include anything from bank account passwords to pictures on Facebook. If you have an online business, all of the related digital assets may need to be addressed, particularly with regard to who has access and who doesn't, as well as who will inherit such assets or be in charge of distributing them.

For individuals who already have an estate plan, it may be worthwhile to ask whether the person named as executor has all of the necessary information to deal with digital assets.

In the absence of a proactive plan that accounts for online property, family members may be left with heart-rending decisions with regard to the sentimental and monetary value of your digital legacy.

Of course, your estate plan should also address other types of property, including any real estate or business assets, and the holidays may be an opportune time to discuss those matters, as well.

For more on estate planning in Ontario, please see Hagel Lawfirm's overview of wills and trusts.

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