Our lives are increasingly intertwined with social media platforms in the digital age. From sharing memories to connecting with loved ones, social media has become essential to our daily lives. However, have you considered what happens to your online presence after you’re no longer here? Many people create wills or work with a South Florida Estate Planning Attorney. However, a recently published article explained the struggles relatives have with gaining digital access to accounts after a loved one’s death. That’s why setting up a digital legacy social media accounts is important because someone will need to manage all digital assets you leave behind after you’re gone—and social media is huge.
Luckily, the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act is in place, which gives family members or executors access to most of a person’s digital accounts after they’re gone. However, this still does not include social media accounts. If you do not have a legacy social media account set up, no one can access it after you’ve passed, even if it was your wish.
What Are Legacy Social Media Accounts?
When someone passes away, their social media accounts often remain active, filled with photos, posts, comments, and interactions that reflect their lives and experiences. Legacy accounts offer a solution to ensure this digital footprint is not lost or left unattended. By designating a trusted individual to manage these accounts, the digital executor can carry out specific actions according to the deceased’s wishes, maintaining the integrity and continuity of their online presence.
Legacy social media accounts are designated profiles someone else manages after your death. These special profiles created on various social media platforms are designed to be managed by a designated individual, a digital executor, after the account holder’s passing. These accounts serve as a means to preserve and maintain the deceased individual’s digital presence, memories, and connections.
Why You Need to Protect Your Social Media Accounts After Your Death
Social media platforms serve as digital time capsules, preserving memories, photos, and connections. If you do not assign someone as an executor to these, everything can be lost.
Avoiding Identity Theft and Fraud
Unattended social media accounts become more vulnerable to hacking. Hackers and identity thieves seize opportunities to prey upon the unsuspecting, potentially inflicting harm.
Maintaining Privacy and Reputation
A breach of unauthorized access to social media accounts can lead to the misuse of personal information obtained from them. The effects can ultimately tarnish your reputation after you’re gone. Something like this can also cause your loved ones additional emotional distress on top of the grief they have already endured from your passing.
Honoring Your Wishes
Your digital existence is an extension of yourself, and just as you express your desires and intentions during your lifetime, you should have the means to do so even after you’ve passed. Legacy accounts offer a way to articulate how you want your online presence managed. By setting up these accounts, you can specify your preferences, ensuring your wishes are respected.
How To Set Up Legacy Accounts
Creating a strategy for your social media legacy may feel overwhelming at first. However, the process of planning your digital legacy doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. Rather than tackling everything, approach it step by step, gradually creating a thorough plan over time. You can also follow our detailed Digital Asset Estate Planning Guide for more help setting up legacy social media accounts, creating digital passwords, and establishing legacy accounts for your phone. By breaking down the process and dedicating focused efforts to each aspect, you can ensure a well-thought-out and manageable approach to preserving your digital legacy.
When setting up legacy social media accounts, some platforms simplify the process.
Facebook is one of the only social media websites that allows you to pre-plan your digital legacy. To do it, follow these steps:
- Click on the downward arrow located in the upper right corner of the Facebook site.
- Navigate to “Settings & Privacy” and then select “Settings.”
- Ensure you are in the “General” section, the first category in the left-hand column.
- Choose “Memorialization Settings” to access the options for managing your account after your passing.
Within the “Memorialization Settings” page, you can then choose to:
- Select a legacy contact: Choose someone you trust to manage tribute posts, accept new friend requests, update your profile, and, if desired, delete your account.
- Permanently delete your account: A link at the bottom of the page allows you to choose this option. If you don’t opt for account deletion, Facebook will automatically memorialize your account upon learning of your passing.
Twitter does not offer a built-in feature to transfer or manage a deceased user’s account. Suppose someone wishes to close the account of a deceased individual. In that case, they need to complete a form provided by Twitter and submit it along with specific documents, including their ID and a death certificate. However, even with this process, they will not be granted access to the account.
Instagram also does not provide a feature to pre-assign access or instructions for managing your account after your passing. When Instagram receives proof of a user’s death, such as a newspaper clipping or a death certificate, it will memorialize the account. Family members can also request the closure of the account by providing the necessary evidence. However, no provisions exist for granting specific access or control to designated individuals.
Call THE South Florida Estate Planning Attorney – Barry Siegel
Working with a skilled South Florida Estate Planning Attorney is essential when it comes to including social media legacy accounts in your estate plans. By seeking professional guidance from the attorneys at Siegel Law Group, you can ensure that these digital assets are properly addressed, aligned with your overall Estate Planning goals, and managed according to your wishes after your passing.
With the assistance of a knowledgeable South Florida Estate Planning attorney, you can navigate the intricacies of Estate Planning and rely on our expertise, ultimately providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Call our office at 561-576-6206 for a complimentary consultation, or submit our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.