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Including your Digital Life in your Estate Planning

 Posted on June 05, 2012 in Estate Planning

Chances are, your online persona will outlive your physical one. But have you considered what will happen to your blog, or Twitter and Facebook accounts after you're gone? Have you included them in your estate planning?

As personal estate planning lags behind the technology paced times, private companies have appeared to fill in the gap. Some promise to "preserve your memory" in a cloud based storage system, provided that your heirs keep paying the annual fee for the service.

Sites like the Digital Beyond give tips on how you can prepare to preserve your digital footprint, such as how to pass your passwords on to your surviving family members. And the sticky legal question of who owns your digital "stuff" when you pass on—the site that owns the servers that it is stored on, or you as the user? This is currently a gray area, but as the courts catch up to technology, we will most likely see some rulings made on this issue.

Facebook is notorious for constantly changing their policies, but currently they allow the accounts of deceased users to be deleted, deactivated or "memorialized." According to Facebook, only "verified family members" can ask that an account be memorialized. Facebook does not leave any information on the rights of an executor of a will in reporting a person as deceased.

Twitter offers more leeway. In order to report a person as deceased, the site requires a copy of the deceased's death certificate and a link to the person's obituary. The person making the request must provide a notarized form identifying themselves and their relation to the deceased.

Comprehensive estate planning is vital to ensuring that your wishes are carried out in the event of your death. And as technology advances, the issues regarding estate planning require the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney. Call our firm to schedule a consultation about your estate today.

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