Tech Tuesday: Last Will and Testaments For Your Social Media

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by SHANNON POWELL

WFAA

Posted on May 15, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 15 at 4:32 PM

Everyone is encouraged to create a will to let loved ones know how to deal with your estate in the event of your death. Usually instructions are left on how to divide assets, but what about instructions on how to handle your social media sites?

The federal government is recommending you create a 'social media will'. It's suggested because social media has become such an important part of our every day lives.

A social media will is something new, but a recommendation by the federal government to give your loved ones an idea of what to do, in the event of your death, to your social media pages.

On USA.GOV the federal government is only suggesting you create a statement in your will to instruct your loved ones on what to do with your Facebook page. Get your virtual assets in order.

The social media will also clears up any questions and not leave a potential mess behind. This is a recommendation, so how do you make it happen.

So, the government suggests taking a few extra steps:

  • State how you would like your profiles handled. Write this down. Do you want your Timeline to end or have your profile memorialized so your account lives on? This way your friends and family can periodically post messages about how much they miss you. Twitter will allow family to remove your post but they require proof of death.
  • Appoint a social media executor and give him a list of all the websites where you have a profile, along with usernames and passwords. Because wills become public information, you may consider this in a separate document that contains all your accounts information and draft a digital asset plan.
  • Make sure you social media executor has a copy of your death certificate. He may need it as proof for any web sites to take action.That will be needed to remove a deceased person’s account on Twitter.

Facebook has a help center posting to tell you how to report a deceased person's page and what needs to be done to memorialize a person. With 800 million active users and half to 1.5 million users a year die….it’s important to the site.

Again, this is a suggestion. Some lawyers suggest creating an informal agreement with someone you trust to avoid potential legal loopholes.While this is a morbid thought, it has to be done.

PlannedDeparture.com is an electronic vault- electronic way to pay to store your digital information so that you can be in charge and manage your digital assets. 

E-mail spowell@wfaa.com

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