It is a mistake to ignore social media sites when you create your estate plan. So much of our lives have moved online, and you should treat digital assets, like social media accounts, just like any other asset and include them in your Phoenix estate plan.
Why Should You Add Social Media Sites to Your Phoenix Estate Plan?
You should absolutely include social media sites in your Phoenix estate plan. Although social media accounts may hold little financial value, they do have significant sentimental value. People store an immense amount of information on their social media accounts, including photographs, videos, and memories. These can play a large role in your legacy and be a source of comfort for your loved ones after you are gone.
When you include your social media site in your estate plan, you designate and authorize an individual to control and manage the account. You are given the opportunity to decide what happens to these accounts after you are gone.
If you do not address social media accounts in your estate plan, your information could be lost forever, or it could end up in the hands of someone who misuses the account. Many people assume that when you die a family member can simply contact customer support to access the profile or shut it down. Often, this is not the case. Many sites have restrictions about unauthorized use, and the account will either stay live and unmanaged, or the company will permanently delete the site after a certain period of time.
The problem with your account being deleted before your family has an opportunity to back-up the information is obvious. Photos, videos, memories, and stories will be gone forever. However, there are also dangers of your account staying live and unmanaged. These sites contain a wealth of personal information and could put your family at risk of fraud or identity theft. Furthermore, having these sites remain active could trigger heartbreak if loved ones unexpectedly see your profile pop-up on their timeline.
Your family could end up in a drawn-out battle with the social media company as they fight to gain control over your account. The small step of including social media accounts in your estate plan can significantly impact the difficulties your family faces after your death.
How Do You Add Social Media Sites to Your Estate Plan in Phoenix?
It is easy to add social media sites to your estate plan with the help of an attorney. The first step you should take is to make a list of all your social media sites. These could include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitch, and Flickr. New sites are constantly being created, so it is important to keep this list updated. Along with the domain name, you should list your username, password, email associated with the account, and answers to any security questions.
The second step is to name your beneficiary. You should choose a responsible person who you trust. This person should be tech-savvy and able to navigate social media sites. The beneficiary does not need to be the same person as your executor or trustee. It is a good idea to talk to this person beforehand to let them know your plans.
Next, you should provide instructions outlining what you want the beneficiary to do with the accounts. For example, you could ask your beneficiary to download the information, change the account into a legacy page, or permanently delete the site.
It is essential to check the settings and policy of each social media account. You should make sure that your account settings match the instructions in your estate plan. As an example, Facebook has an option that allows you to create a legacy page and designate an individual to manage the account after you die.
In addition to including social media sites in your will and trust, you can include your accounts in your power of attorney documents. This will allow your agent to manage your social media accounts in the event that you become incapacitated.
Your Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney
If you have questions about adding social media sites to your estate plan and would like to speak to a probate and estate planning lawyer, call Nicole Pavlik Law Firm. Nicole Pavlik is an experienced Phoenix estate planning attorney who can help you create an estate plan that fits your needs. Call Nicole Pavlik Law Firm today at 602-635-6176 to schedule a free consultation.