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What happens to my digital accounts when I pass away?

Social media and financial accounts do not automatically disappear when you pass away. Family members or loved ones will have the option of deactivating them, but it may be necessary to access these accounts when administering your estate before deactivation.

Here are some steps that may help your family members and loved ones manage your digital accounts.

Designating a person to access online accounts

Several websites allow users to designate contact persons to gain access to accounts upon the account holder’s death. Facebook, like many websites, provides an option for users to designate a legacy contact. Keep in mind that Facebook does have restrictions on what the legacy contact can and can’t do. The designated contact won’t be able to login to the Facebook account or access the messages, but they will be able to do things like post memorial service information by pinning a post on the profile.

Additionally, designating a legacy contact for accounts outside of social media such as financial and email accounts may be a good idea.

Making a list of digital assets and accounts

Even if a person designates a legacy contact that can access digital accounts when they pass away, the contact person will need to know which accounts they will need to manage. Making a list of social media and financial accounts that includes usernames and passwords could speed up the process when it comes time to access them.

Incorporating a digital assets clause into to your estate plan

It may be possible for you to incorporate a digital assets clause into your estate plan. By including this information in a written document such as a will, trust or power of attorney form, it may simplify the process of managing your digital assets and accounts. Consulting with an experienced attorney to discuss how your digital assets will be addressed your estate plan may also be a good idea.

Designating who can access your digital accounts is an easy step that you can take when it comes to planning your estate. Former president Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Establishing the legacy of your digital accounts by creating a blueprint for your loved ones may ease the stress that comes with estate administration.

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