Is It Time To Create A Social Media Will? And How Would It Work?

On behalf of Louis Pacella, Attorney at Law posted in Wills on Thursday, May 17, 2012

Estate planning uses wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care directives and other documents to make certain that when we pass away (in Los Angeles at a ripe old age) that our wishes are honored regarding not only our possessions, but also about our end-of-life treatment.

The increasing use of online identities has thrown a new wrinkle (excuse the pun) into estate planning. What do we do with our online profiles? The government has recently suggested that we create a social media will.

What is a social media will and how would one work? That is currently up for debate. A recent news article pointed out both the need for some sort of social media will, and also the difficulty in preparing one.

Consider that the average individual reportedly has as many as 25 passwords. Also consider that a will becomes public. Would you want your Facebook profile to be made public? Some would — some would not.

Government sources recommend appointing someone trusted as an online executor. This executor would be responsible for your online presence such as email addresses, Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles and your profile.

Once again, consider Facebook. Some families choose to leave a profile up as a memorial and a place where people can congregate to tell stories and share memories. Other families may choose to take it down if it serves as a painful reminder that someone has died.

Either way — the choice could be yours and not your family’s if you create a social media will. This is new territory for individuals and potentially for estate planning professionals. It may be a good idea to ask for legal advice.

Source: The Atlantic, “The Government Would Like You to Write a ‘Social Media Will’,” Rebecca J. Rosen, May 3 2012