Here’s our second installment to celebrate 2014 National Estate Planning Awareness Week: “Who Gets My Twitter (or Facebook or Feedly or Instagram or Pinterest) When I Die.”
When we think about our estate—our stuff—the stuff that’s going to be left behind when we die that someone else is going to have to sort through—we normally think about tangible stuff like houses and cars and books and bank accounts.
But for many of us (especially digital-native types under, say, 35), we may have more invested in our social media accounts than we do in the stock market. (I am running low on both, I fear.) And while a Twitter account with 20,000 followers doesn’t necessarily translate into money, it ain’t nothing, either. You had to do some work to get there and it’s worth something. So, again, what happens to it after you die?
Well, if you don’t make specific plans for your social media and other digital assets before you die, the answer’s pretty scary: You have no way of knowing. Your account may be memorialized (if it’s a Facebook account) or simply shut down or left to hover in the inter-ether (yep, just made that up) indefinitely. Without clear direction from your estate plan, the future of your social media presence will pretty much be up to whoever wants to access it and the individual policies of the particular providers.
On one level this sounds trivial, but think about it more carefully: If you spend a fair amount of time using social media, that is an important part of your life. Depending on your public candor, your status updates and tweets serve as an informal autobiography. And because younger folks tend to spend so much time online, you may not have any other recorded reflections on your life.
So would you prefer for all that information to be decided on a whim, or would you prefer to direct someone in how to handle it.
Be aware of your social media presence. If you’re concerned, call us. We would love to discuss different options for making sure your digital presence is handled the way you want.