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Who will access your social media accounts after you’re gone?

When most Americans hear the phrase “estate planning” they likely think of wills. There is no denying that the creation and execution of wills is an important part of the estate planning process. But there are many other aspects to this process that individuals may not think to consider. In addition to leaving instructions for how one’s property should be distributed after death, estate planning allows individuals to name potential guardians for minor children, appoint trusted loved ones to tend to medical and financial decisions in the event of incapacitation and instruct loved ones on how to manage end of life care.

It is also important to note that estate planning can address many other issues which arise when death or incapacitation occur. Should an accident or illness render you unable to make your own decisions or when you pass away, any number of things will be affected by your loss. Thinking about death can be truly frightening and frustrating. However, when you take the time to consider what will be affected by your death, you will almost certainly understand the need for a smart estate planning strategy.

For example, Americans are increasingly relying on social media in order to express themselves and communicate with others. You may have activity on your social media accounts like Facebook or dating sites that you would prefer remain private after you die. If you do not address social media access as a part of your estate planning strategy, it is hard to say who may be granted access to your accounts after you are gone. By either designating someone to take over your accounts or otherwise ensuring that your accounts remain private, you will be able to ensure that your wishes remain legally enforceable and ultimately respected.

Source: Findlaw Law & Daily Life, “Facebook's 'Legacy Contact': Managing Digital Accounts After Death,” Christopher Coble, Feb. 12, 2015

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