Addressing social media and digital assets key part of estate planning
Asset and estate planning can be a daunting task, with many and varied things to consider. One important aspect which often gets forgotten is how your online presence will be managed when you are gone.
From precious family memories to silly, yet sentimental, travel photos, your social media accounts can be hugely difficult for loved ones to deal with. As well as the emotional impact of trawling through photos and documents, the practicalities of dealing with something like passwords can be added stress at an already difficult time.
So it is key to ensure that as well as your physical assets, your social media content and digital footprint are dealt with under your Will.
There are a number of matters you need to consider regarding your wishes about your social media accounts. For example, do you want your account(s) to be:
- Used as a memorial space by family and friends
- Remain untouched
It is important to address these issues for a number of reasons including privacy concerns, possible identity theft, and preventing the loss of valuable memorabilia and cherished memories such as photos saved in the cloud.
Social media is also a great vehicle for helping to inform friends and family of a loved one’s passing.
Social media platforms generally have specific policies in place when it comes to death. Below is a summary of each of the main channels’ procedures:
- Within Facebook settings you can select whether you want your account to be deleted or memorialised after your death.
- As it is owned by Meta, Instagram’s policy is similar to Facebook.
- The company will consider deactivating an account upon request by a family member/executor.
- The Snapchat policy is limited, and the company will delete the account but will not grant access.
Each can be very taxing for family and friends.
A Will that is accurately drafted is key to helping make it clear to all parties what you want done with your digital assets and social media.
To facilitate the process, you can choose to use a password manager. Some password managers will let you arrange for data to be provided to selected individuals on your death, including any relevant information to access your phone.