Should I Put My Social Media Accounts in My Will?
May 18, 2016
Making a will is really important but if you are like many of the adult population here in the UK, a will seems to be low down on the list of life’s priorities. Only 30% of adults in the UK have written a will. But how many of these wills actually contain instructions on what happens to their online lives?
When you die, your will contains information about who will be the executor of your estate. They will have the task of tracking down your online life if you’ve not detailed it all for them. This could include online banking, Amazon accounts, eBay accounts and the usual social media suspects such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Because much of our lives are now electronic, even contact information for people could be stored online.
Leaving information for your executor that outlines your online life, and the accounts you have can be really helpful for them. This means you can take the guesswork out of the process and save them some time.
Each company will have their own policies about access to social media accounts or cloud-based storage, so it will be up to your executor to manage this process.
Facebook has a feature called legacy contact. This allows you to set up who you would like to have access to your Facebook page once you die and they can take the decision to keep it going or to delete it.
Twitter sensibly says it will work with the person who is authorised to deal with the estate and will delete the Twitter account. It does say though that It won’t provide access to the account, regardless of their relationship.
Apple recently asked a family who had been given their mother’s iPad in her Will to get a court order to obtain access to the password, even though they’d been left the item specifically in her Will and had a copy of the Will and a death certificate.
You can see that different companies have different approaches, but you don’t want your family to have to go to the hassle and expense of going to court, you may want to structure your ‘digital legacy’ after doing some research on the policies of each company you have online accounts with.
Whatever you do, some forward planning can really help make it easier for your family to manage your estate after you die. A will does that, along with making a digital legacy.
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