Everyone has an email account, probably a Facebook account, online bill pay and bank accounts, and other online personalities. What happens to those accounts when you become incapacitated, or when you die? Recently, a good friend of mine passed away in Colorado and now a year later I can still see his Facebook page online. Maybe he wanted it this way, but maybe he did not. The point is you need a plan in place to handle these issues when you may become disabled and when you pass away. If you’ve ever wondered “what happens to my Facebook account when I die?”, read on.
When asking yourself “what happens to my Facebook account when I die?”, consider these questions. Can your trustee, power of attorney agent, personal representative or loved ones gain access to such valuable information if/when they need it? Do your loved ones know how to access these accounts when the need arises?
What Happens To My Facebook Account When I Die?
In today’s virtual world, we are forced to think about these issues. Many of us use the internet and online accounts to manage all facets of our lives. Whether you use online banking, online bill-pay, receive paperless bills via email, and/or a whole host of other things we use the internet for, it is important your loved ones know how to access and ultimately manage these accounts. In today’s technology dependent society these are issues we are forced to consider but, often overlook. It is important to have a detailed plan, outlining what bills are paid automatically, what bill statements are received electronically, what your passwords are to each of your online accounts, and any other electronic information pertinent to your online life. This information should be kept with your estate planning documents, with a detailed list of instructions on how to manage these online accounts when you are no longer able. Sometimes we have clients provide our office with this information. A growing trend is to manage all of your passwords in one, secure, password encrypted location. This way, in the event someone needed to handle something electronically on your behalf, they only need to have access to one password, which would allow them to gain access to all of your passwords/online information. One such company offering this service is LastPass. I recently started using this site and it is a fantastic management tool. Now I only need to remember one password and I can store all of my other passwords in a secure site which is always accessible via the “Cloud”. The best part about this company is they have a free version so it does not cost you a dime. If you store all of your passwords and online information on such a site, then all you need to do is make sure your agent(s) knows how to get access to your Lastpass.com password (or whatever other site you use). This will simplify the list you need to create for your agent(s) (not to mention you no longer have to try to remember all of your various passwords and logins!) This is an important area of estate planning, and it is necessary for you to give this some thought. If you have any questions regarding the popular question “what happens to my Facebook account when I die?”, or if you need to schedule a review of your estate plan, please set-up a no cost consultation with our office.