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Facebook makes digital estate planning easier in California

There are many different things which must be considered when dealing with planning an estate. Due to the many things that must be included, many people in California often forget to consider digital assets when estate planning. Facebook has recently attempted to help address this problem by making key changes to the social media site’s account policies.

Previously, Facebook was faced with issues related to the accounts of deceased users. There were limited options available provided by the social media site for dealing with this type of situation. However, the company recently added a new solution to make it easier to manage a decedent’s user account.

Facebook now allows the designation of a “legacy contact.” This is a person who would be allowed to post messages on a decedent’s timeline, as well as update profile pictures and cover photos, and respond to friend requests. One may also allow the chosen legacy contact to download archived posts and photos.

On the other hand, this person would not be allowed to log in as the decedent or view any private messages. One may also decide to tell Facebook to delete one’s account upon one’s death. Prior to this recent change, Facebook had allowed memorial accounts that could be viewed. However, a person was not allowed to access the account after the user died.

On the other hand, Facebook accounts are not the only digital assets that may need to be addressed during estate planning in California. There may be various other social media accounts and email accounts that need to be included in an estate plan. Also, one should consider relevant laws regulating social media accounts after a person is deceased. This can be challenging since it is a relatively new area of estate planning; therefore, the law may not be exactly straightforward concerning this issue.

Source: ajc.com, “Include digital assets in estate planning”, Feb. 16, 2015

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