The entire world is changing at a pace faster than it ever has in history. There are things to consider in this day and age that nobody has ever had to think on before. These include the idea of a digital legacy. Did you ever consider what will happen with your email accounts, social media, websites and other online data when you pass on?
There are thousands of people out there who leave behind social media accounts that can’t be canceled because nobody has access to the account. Your legacy online is just as important as your legacy in real life. Learn about what your digital legacy means, the steps you can take to ensure it’s taken care of when you pass on, and how an estate planning lawyer can help.
Can’t My Family Handle It?
This is a critical mistake that too many people make. Never assume that your family will be able to access your social media accounts. It’s not the same as medical records—and even medical records can be restricted to some family members. Trying to get access to the accounts of a loved one who has passed on can be a laborious and long process and it doesn’t always succeed.
Social media sites value their clients’ privacy and they can be overzealous in the proof of identity they require. When you’re alive it can be onerous enough, though often appreciated. When you pass away it can be a nightmare for those you leave behind. There is, however, a way you can grant access to your heirs when you pass away.
Name a Digital Executor
Many social networking sites permit the naming of a digital executor. This is someone who is pre-approved to have access to your accounts, to delete them or post to them after you’re gone. You can choose this person ahead of time, and you can name them in your will. They may still have to prove who they are, but the process will be easier if they are clearly named as an executor.
Leaving Names and Passwords Behind
Another, possibly more common, option, is to leave lists of account names, websites and passwords behind so that those who you leave can login and control or manage your accounts. There are, of course, risks that go with this as well. Choose someone you trust with the same care you’d use naming a power of attorney. In addition, be sure to clearly name your successor in your accounts, so they aren’t locked out from fear of fraudulent access.
Work with an Estate Planning Lawyer
Your digital legacy is as much a piece of you that you leave behind as your assets. In many ways it’s more important because it’s so public. It’s the way everyone in the world sees you. Just like any aspect of final planning, making sure your legacy is protected can require help from a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer. If you’re in Cuyahoga County or the surrounding areas, contact Stano Law for more information today.
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