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Digital Assets and Estate Planning: Managing Your Online Accounts After Death

In today's digital age, it's crucial to consider your online presence when creating an estate plan. Few people do not utilize digital assets in their daily lives. These assets include social media, email, and online financial accounts.  Without proper planning, these assets can remain unchanged and inaccessible after you pass away.

Disclaimer: The information provided is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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Here's how you can manage your online presence after death:

Social Media

1. Facebook

Facebook allows users to memorialize an account, turning it into a place for friends and family to remember and celebrate their lives. You can pre-select a friend or family member as your legacy contact to have access to your account after your passing, including responding to friend requests, updating your profile picture, and pinning a tribute post.

2. Instagram

Instagram also offers a memorialization feature that allows a legacy contact to memorialize your account. They can archive your posts and photos but cannot log in as you or see your direct messages.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn allows you to appoint a trusted contact to manage your account or provide instructions for its closure. Any person can also request the memorialization of a deceased person's profile. However, suppose that person was not named as the authorized representative; in that case, getting the account closed can be very challenging.

4. Twitter

Twitter allows for the deactivation of an account in the event of the user's passing. A person authorized to act on behalf of the estate can request the deactivation of the account.

Managing Passwords and Online Asset Accounts

Digital password managers have become a popular way to securely store your passwords and share them with a trusted individual. You can also write down your passwords and keep them in a secure place - just be sure to let a trusted person know how to access that secure place. Additionally, creating a list of which digital assets you use can be very convenient for your executor or trusted contact to quickly obtain access if needed.

Additional Considerations

  • Digital Estate Planning: Include provisions in your will or trust that allow your Executor or Trustee the power to manage your digital assets.

  • Privacy Concerns: Consider the privacy implications of sharing sensitive information online after your passing.

  • Avoid litigation: If your Executor or representative needs to access your digital account, but you have not pre-authorized it before your death or incapacity, then your estate may need to go through a lengthy and expensive court proceeding to get the access required.  

Take Action Today

Managing your digital assets is one estate planning consideration that should not be overlooked in our increasingly digital age. Yet, many people, including some attorneys, frequently do. By organizing and securing your online presence, your digital legacy can be preserved and accessible to your loved ones. Knowledgeable estate planning attorneys can effectively plan for your digital assets. If preserving your digital legacy concerns you, contact us today to learn more about incorporating digital assets into your estate plan.

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