Do You Have an Estate Plan for Your Social Media?

There are many different components to an effective estate plan, but in the modern era, you cannot forget your social media. Many people might forget about the social media accounts and other online assets they maintain, but this can present unique challenges for your loved ones if you were to suddenly pass away.

This is because even though leaving behind tangible assets can often be easily accomplished by having a will, the passwords and other privacy requirements as maintained by the social media websites are not often as easy to overcome. This means that your loved ones may be earnestly trying to get a hold of your digital assets but not have the know-how or ability to do so quickly.

In a time when digital assets may be added to your life every few months or even weeks, having your own updated list of all your accounts somewhere in a tool like LastPass can help you make sure you've included everything.

What Counts as Digital Property?

Your digital property might include a number of different types of assets such as a digital music library, photo saved on an internet platform, credit card loyalty points and even emails. Unfortunately, family members may fight over any type of asset, including digital ones. They might also not know how to access these materials and generate major problems for themselves in trying to get a hold of them.

That is because social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have specific requirements about when and how you can memorialize an account and the steps you need to take to do so appropriately. Furthermore, having passwords alone does not always enable someone to take action in your social media accounts.

You might want to maintain control of these social media accounts immediately, but if you have not taken special steps in terms of planning with your estate planning lawyer, you could leave your family suffering the consequences. They may be unable to access your materials and save them for themselves.

Additionally, your family members may even argue about who is entitled to recover these assets. Because there are so many different issues that can emerge, you need to put together a digital estate plan with the help of a lawyer.

Can a Digital Executor Help with Your Estate?

A digital executor can help you accomplish these goals as well. Without the help of a lawyer, it is all too easy to overlook crucial components of your estate plan. Given that your digital assets may hold tremendous sentimental value for your loved ones, it's well worth taking the necessary steps to protect them and clearly articulate these in an estate plan.

A digital executor may be a person that you choose to act on your behalf if something were to happen to you. This person can go in and memorialize your social media accounts, download the necessary assets, and carry out any other individual wishes that you have. If you do not protect your digital assets however, they could fall into the wrong hands or be unreachable by the loved ones that you hoped to be able to maintain them after you pass away.

Because of the complexities and the new nature of digital estate planning, it is strongly recommended that you retain an estate planning lawyer who has years of experience practicing specifically in this field.

While your plan might look different from friends and family members, that's because your digital assets rely on you and your individual needs. The right lawyer can help you review the inventory of all your assets, including the physical ones, to put together a plan.

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