Will your Facebook account haunt your loved ones after you’re gone? Without proper planning, your post-mortem Facebook presence can haunt the loved ones you leave behind, with harmful results.
If you’re active on social media, Facebook is probably a big part of your life. Does social media seem trivial to you? If you think about it, your Facebook account is basically a virtual diary of your daily life, making it a key part of your legacy—and one you’ll likely want to protect.
Since about 8,000 Facebook users die every day, the company has created a few options for dealing with your account once you’re gone. While it’s possible for you to take care of this on your own, many people are working with legal professionals like us to incorporate these digital assets into their overall estate plan to ensure their legacy is properly preserved and protected.
Here are your options:
Unless Facebook is notified of your death, it assumes you’re still alive, and your profile remains active indefinitely. While this might not seem like a big deal, your profile will continue to be included in Facebook searches, “People You May Know” suggestions, and birthday reminders.
Your friends and family likely won’t want to be constantly reminded of your absence, and even worse, ex-friends and/or trolls will be able to post potentially hurtful messages on your timeline.
Delete the account.
In your settings, notify Facebook that you’d like to have your account permanently removed from its servers upon your passing. Alternatively, a friend, family member, or your executor can make the same request after your death. This will completely delete your profile and all of its associated content from Facebook for good.
Also, one of these individuals can request that your account’s content be downloaded and saved before the profile is deleted. Content that’s eligible for download includes wall posts, photos, videos, profile info, events, and your friend list. But Facebook won’t allow any third-party to access or download your personal messages or login information.
Memorialize the account.
Facebook lets you designate a family member or friend as a “legacy contact” to manage your memorialized account. This contact will be allowed to pin a final message to the top of your timeline, announcing your death or providing funeral information. The contact can also respond to new friend requests and update your cover and profile photos. The legacy contact won’t be able to log in as you or see any of your private messages.
Preserve your legacy.
Since social media and other digital property are such an important part of your life, you should work with us as to ensure that these assets are protected by your overall estate plan. We can help you name a digital executor, who can quickly and easily manage your Facebook account and other social media upon your death. We can also help you inventory all of your other digital assets and make certain they pass to your loved ones seamlessly.
Furthermore, through our Family Wealth Legacy Interviews, we allow you to create a customized recording, sharing your values, stories, and life lessons with the loved ones you leave behind. Our estate plans include a Family Wealth Legacy Interview component. That’s because your estate planning is about more than just your STUFF. It’s also about your real wealth: your values, your insights and your experiences. Contact us today to learn more.
This article is a service of the Law Firm of Myrna Serrano Setty, P.A. We don’t just draft documents, we help you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today at (813) 514-2946 to schedule a Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $500 session at no charge.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Bitcoin. What you may not know is what “cryptocurrency” means, and how it affects your estate planning. Maybe you’ve even got yourself some Bitcoin, but haven’t given thought to what would happen to your digital currency in the event of your death or incapacity. As a new technology, cryptocurrency can be a bit confusing, and few law firms are talking about this yet. But we are!
Today’s article will dive in with some initial thoughts, and then we’ll get deeper in future articles.
- If you had purchased $100 of Bitcoin in 2010, you would have over $4,000,000 today. Let that sink in.
- There are now over 800 digital currencies available, though Bitcoin is the most well-known.
- Each one operates a bit differently, and with a different purpose.
- What they all have in common is that they are digital currencies, in the form of “tokens” that you can now buy (or invest in) and in some cases use to exchange for goods and services.
For example, more and more providers of goods and services are accepting Bitcoin as payment method, just as they would cash or credit. A few are even accepting the lesser known currency called Ripple (XRP).
For today, I want to cover what you need to have in place to ensure that if you become incapacitated or die, and you are holding digital currency, you will be prepared.
Unfortunately, if you have not planned for the transfer of your digital currency at the time of your incapacity or death, it could literally be lost to the ethers. And, if you invested in Bitcoin back in the day before it got popular, that could potentially be millions of dollars lost to your loved ones.
There are two things for you to consider if you are holding digital currency:
- Do your loved ones, or whoever you would like to leave your digital currency to, know that it exists?
- Do they know how to access it and cash it in or hold onto it?
If you are holding your currency in an exchange, such as coinbase, with 2-factor authentication, it could be very difficult for your loved ones to access your currency. (And if your loved ones can’t access your iPhone, there’s other problems too (see our article about digital access)! We offer our clients access to a cloud-based digital account administration system. Having that in place would allow the executor of your estate to handle all digital accounts, not just crypto accounts. But if you prefer the traditional route, store that information offline.
Here’s the thing, if you lose those codes, or your loved ones can’t find them, it’s the same as all of your currency being gone.
Bottom line: if you have cryptocurrency and you want your loved ones to have it after you are gone, you should probably call us so we can make sure it’s not lost upon your incapacity or death. As one of the first law firms actively tackling the crypto-currency issue, we want to make sure our clients are ahead of the curb on this as well.
This article is a service of attorney Myrna Serrano Setty. Myrna doesn’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Life & Legacy Planning Session during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. Call our office today to schedule a Life & Legacy Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $500 session at no charge.
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