How to Handle Digital Assets in an Estate Plan
As you engage in the estate planning process, your focus is mostly likely on physical assets like homes, motor vehicles and financial accounts. However, it’s also important to safeguard your digital accounts and assets.
Savvy estate planning includes deciding how you want your digital assets like a Facebook or Google account to be treated after you pass away. The following are some important considerations:
- Facebook accounts under new rules. In the past, social media sites like Facebook would freeze accounts after someone passed away to retain the family’s privacy. Unfortunately, this policy meant that surviving friends and members could not access images or videos — or alter any online content. In 2015, Facebook changed its policy to allow for what it terms a “legacy contact” who can manage accounts after someone passes. However, if no one is identified as a contact, Facebook will freeze the account of the deceased person.
- Naming a digital heir. Through a will, you may name digital heirs, and if so, those individuals can be considered as the legacy contact for Facebook and various other online accounts.
- Google and other sites also have new policies for digital assets. Google has also put into place a provision for an Inactive Account Manager (IAM) who can access the data, but not alter content on accounts like Gmail, Drive, Contacts and Blogger. Users may also designate that they would like the account deleted after a designated period of inactivity. Twitter, however, does not have a similar policy and doesn’t allow for a digital heir to access the account. Family members may request the deletion of the account.
If you need answers on how best to protect your digital assets, speak with a skilled Florida estate planning attorney at the Charles Law Offices today.