If you are like most people, you are using social media to organize your life and share events and memories with family and friends. Most of us have at least one email account, as well as others on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, and perhaps others. In between the time this blog is written and you have read it, the internet will have come up with at least a dozen more. You may also use online file sharing sites like Dropbox, Evernote, or Flickr. You may even have a long forgotten Yahoo account. Based on news of that heist, experts are suggesting users go back and make sure those accounts have changed password and are deleted. But in this post, we are focusing on planning for the future, as well as the present.
We want to share a few recommendations on planning for your digital estate and legacy. You may have a will to direct where your assets go after you die, but that will doesn’t (and legally, can’t) direct what happens to your social media accounts after you die. While many states have enacted laws that allow the estate representative to gain access and control to the decedent’s social media; New Jersey is not one of them (this bill has been stuck in legislative committee since 2012)
So what’s a person to do? Here are some tips to help you sort out your digital legacy:
1. Take advantage of platform-specific tools from Facebook, Google and Others.
Some social media sites already have a tools to help you with this. Facebook allows you to designate a “Legacy Contact”, a person who will control your account (an all those pictures) after you die. Google’s Inactive Account Manager allows you to plan how to handle Google-verse accounts. Learn more in this blog or the set-up page. If you are managing a loved one’s estate, you can report their death to Twitter or LinkedIn so that their accounts can be deactivated.
2. Use a service to help yourself organize.
There are numerous services available that help you plan in one stop. One company, Everplans.com, offers a number of services to help organize and securely share documents. Their article on “How to Close Online Accounts and Services When Someone Dies” provides Step-by-step instructions on how to close more than 180 digital (and some non-digital) services. Other similar services are noted in this Uncubed article.
3. Kondo Your Digital Profile!
Just like the simplified living craze sweeping the country based on Marie Kondo’s book and philosophy, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Take a look at your digital accounts and close the ones you aren’t using and certainly those that aren’t “sparking joy”.
I’ll be sharing more on managing your digital assets and estate planning in the months to come. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please contact me at [email protected]