Digital Life After Death… Christine’s Family Wealth Secrets

Hi.

Still feeling icky–a technical legal term ;-).  Now Cameron is sick too.  I took Friday and the weekend off thinking I would be better but this cold is just lingering. I  feel frustrated with so much work to do, but the cough and fuzzy head just won’t leave.  Never mind that the shopping days are ticking by and I have completed virtually nothing on that end. Ugh, hoping to feel better tomorrow.

You no doubt are tied to the internet just like the rest of us, with Facebook and Twitter accounts, passwords for banking, credit cards and you name it. Our digital alter egos contain important and very personal information about us, and I am not referring only to your demographic information, but photos and videos reflecting your most precious memories. You have options to protect this information from just being deleted, so educate yourself and take action now.

Stay healthy!

Christine

__________________________________________

Digital Life After Death

Have you ever thought about what happens to your social media accounts after you die? According to the Pew Research Center, 74 percent of Internet users maintain a social media presence using websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. The majority, by far, use Facebook.

Who Owns Your Online Accounts?

Many people assume that the online accounts they use are “their” accounts and that they have the right to decide what happens with those accounts after they die. That is simply not true.
While a few states have adopted laws to give family some ability to obtain or access online accounts, access is usually a matter of contract. When you sign up for a social media, email, or banking account, you agree to the company’s terms of service. Those terms of service typically dictate what happens to your account after you die.

The good news is that many social media providers are beginning to recognize that consumers should have a say in whether their accounts die with them.

Why Should You Care?

Your online social media accounts contain unique and touching memorabilia about you. It may comfort your family and friends to revisit that material so they can maintain a connection with you and with each other. It really is a pretty cool way to live on in the hearts and minds of your loved ones. How could you do that otherwise?

If you don’t take steps to provide for your social media presence after you die, your loved ones will be faced with significant hurdles to access your material, including photographs and posts. In most cases, there are many hoops to clear involving death certificates and proof of identification. Sometimes, even a court order is required.

What Options Are Available for Facebook?

Facebook offers two options that subscribers may choose before they die. The first is account deletion. With this option, Facebook permanently deletes the account when notified of a user’s death. You can make your selection here.

The second option is a memorialized account. If this option is chosen, Facebook freezes the account and shows the word “remembering” in the person’s profile. In a memorialized account, Facebook friends may share memories on your page. However, the account is removed from public spaces, so that active events such as birthday reminders no longer occur.

With memorialized accounts, Facebook also allows you to name a “legacy contact.” A legacy contact can pin something to your profile, update your cover photo, and respond to new friend requests. You may also allow this person to download portions of your content, although they cannot access your messages or remove any friends or material.

If you do not make an election, your account will be memorialized with no legacy contact.

Matters of the heart are no less important than material possessions. Call our office to schedule a time for us to talk about how your social media preferences can be integrated into your estate planning. We begin with a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we guide you to get your assets and resources organized so you can finally relax around what you have and what you need.  Then, we look at how to make things as easy as possible for your loved ones after you are gone.  Because no one wants to leave a mess for the one’s they love.

This entry was posted in Asset Protection, Estate Planning, Ezine, Inheritances, Legacy. Bookmark the permalink.