Let us ask you two questions: do you have any social media account? Have you named your Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn heir yet? If the answer to the last question is no, you might be interested in reading more. Obviously, we do not want you to be thinking of your death for the 2 minutes that will take you to read this blog, but this is something that will happen to us all.
What happens to my Facebook account when I die?
Early last year Facebook allowed their users in the United States to plan what do they wanted to do with their accounts once they have died. This facility was soon rolled out to the rest of the world and brought to mind the importance of what will happen to a person’s digital assets once that person has passed away. We could define “digital assets” as everything we upload to the internet and, along with other assets, it is important to plan what we want to do with them once we are deceased.
Digital assets must be included in people’s wills with the instructions that the executors should carry out after a person has passed away.
How to treat digital assets?
- Social Media accounts
Some of the social media platforms include in their terms and conditions the possibility to say how this specific asset will be dealt with after a person’s death or when there has been no activity in the account for a certain period of time.
- Photos and videos online
Generally, these assets will only have sentimental value so they can be left to family and friends as a gift of personal possession.
This, obviously, is different if such photos or videos have any monetary value.
There are some rules for certain social media platforms. For example, Twitter removes images of a deceased person in restricted circumstances.
- Emails or the information stored in them
Here some people might have information that could cause distress to their loved ones after their death. This information should be deleted in lifetime.
People who own businesses should carefully handle how the emails will be accessed after death. Although this can lead in a more in depth discussion relating to business succession plans.
- Intellectual property online
It should be treated identically to paper records and it covers everything from blogs to domain names, gaming avatars, online books.
This is a short guide on how to treat your digital assets. Should you need more information, you can contact our expert team of solicitors dealing with wills. They can guide you on what to do with your online assets with advice tailored to your own circumstances and needs.