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Friday February 15, 2019

Digital Assets and Social Media: Are They in Your Estate Plan?

Authored by: Alanna Mayne, TEP Posted in: Wills & Estates

The recent issues surrounding QuadrigaCX and the death of the company’s CEO, Gerald Cotten, is an important reminder that you should ensure your digital assets are included as part of your estate planning.  The preparation of traditional estate planning documents may not provide adequate provisions for your digital assets and social media accounts to be managed upon your death.  Although most of us do not have millions of dollars that could be inaccessible if your passwords cannot be retrieved, we all have digital assets and social media accounts which we want to ensure are properly attended to or secured when we die.

Many people have accounts which have cash value in them, such as eBay and PayPal.  Without proper planning, your executor may not be aware of these accounts or be able to access the funds in them.  Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts are equally as important.  Not all social media accounts recognize traditional estate planning documents and you may have to take separate steps to ensure that your accounts can be accessed and managed in accordance with your wishes when you die.

For example, Facebook has a specific legacy contact option on your account which allows you to appoint one of your Facebook friends as the person who will manage your account upon your death and provides the option to give specific instructions on what is to be done with your account.  Your legacy contact will manage your memorialized Facebook page and allows them to access certain items on the page, including tributes.  If you do not want to appoint a legacy contact, Facebook allows you to select your account to be deactivated when you die.

Ensuring your online accounts and social media presence can be managed after death is an important part of your overall estate plan. Speak with one of our estate planning lawyers today to discuss planning your physical and digital assets.

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