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What Happens When You Log Out For The Last Time? -Written by Zachary Thiffault

For better or worse, social media has become a key way in which we express ourselves, sharing our joys, accomplishments, and grief. With kids, parents, grandparents, and yes even great-grandparents (Hi Grandma Babs!) using social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to remain connected with distant family and friends has become the norm. What becomes of these platforms following ones death is an increasingly common consideration in estate planning. These platforms can assume various capacities for the deceased and bereaved, creating remembrance forums long after a loved one’s passing.

Studies indicate in recent years, people consider viewing a deceased loved one’s social media account as increasingly important as a way to keep a person’s memory alive.1] Recognizing this reality, Facebook created a “memorialized account” setting, enabling account holders to appoint a person (of 19 years or older) to oversee the account’s memorialization. This appointee can accept friend requests, change profile & cover photos, and pin tributes, but are not authorized to log into the account itself. Once this appointee has notified Facebook that the account holder has died, the word Remembering will appear beside the account holders name on their profile. A memorialized account allows for the account holders content to remain visible, allowing friends to share memories on their timeline, marking significant dates and events they may have shared. Facebook is not alone in this process, as Instagram and Twitter offers comparable memorialization.

Outside these internally offered options, Social Media Clauses are increasingly incorporated into Will preparation. A Social Media Clause can place minimal ongoing responsibility on an Executor, or another named appointee, to manage one’s social media platforms following death. But depending on the purpose/content of the platform, a planner may request the Executors retain control over the account, or per instruction that a named individual can be authorized to take steps to activate an internalized memorialized account. Whatever the reason for considering adding Social Media Clause, this clause is easily incorporated into a Will, providing a simple solution to what becomes of your social media accounts when you log out for the last time.

If you need assistance drafting your Will or Administering an Estate, contact our office by phone at 705-526-1471 for a quote or speak directly to one of our lawyers.

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