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Should you set-up a trust for your social media accounts and websites?

When you die, what happens to your social media accounts? Are they deactivated? Are they turned into "memorials?" Are they turned over to your family? The answer is, yes. Due to inconsistent policies, some of your social media accounts might be deactivated, others may be turned over to family, and some may be indexed and altered into a memorial. If you want to control your digital presence after death, you may want to consider a trust to control your online presence. This post will go over the issues inherent in social media accounts and how you can address them with a trust.

 

Part of the issue with social media accounts is that there is no consistent policy across the various platforms on how to deal with accounts belonging to deceased persons. As of this writing, Google and Twitter automatically delete accounts after a few months of inactivity. Conversely, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn do not delete accounts. Facebook does allow people to turn their loved one's page into a "memorial" but only after receiving proof of death.

Transferring control of your social media accounts into a trust with an executor who has power of attorney can avoid the inconsistent application of these rules. You can designate the trust as the "owner" of the social media sites which can then be instructed to give access to various people ? consistent with your wishes.

Additionally, you may want to consider transferring your business websites and blogs into a trust. You may not want your business to continue operating after your death, but you will want the trust to facilitate the orderly transition and transference of data and other personal information to the appropriate parties.

It is critical that you holistically consider your entire life when you are estate planning. You don't want to leave out critical aspects that could subject your estate to protracted litigation. If you need to enforce your loved one's estate planning documents, you may want to consult with a lawyer. An attorney can help your family ensure that your loved one's legacy, including their online profiles, are respected and treated with the care that your loved one would have wanted.

 

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