The Future of Your Facebook

When you die, probate will involve the future of most of your assets and properties. Interestingly enough, Facebook is one of those assets and the future of your account is a significant concern. More than 580,000 Facebook users will die in the United State this year, and some men and women will want to make a plan for the future of their “digital assets” like their Facebook page, Twitter accounts, or Instagrams. For those who have built up a significant following on one of these accounts, the social media may actually be somewhat valuable. People don’t want their digital assets left in legal limbo, so some will even write in provisions for these accounts in their will. This is completely permissible and can really help to clarify how an individual wants his or her assets to be tackled.

If a person does not make provisions for social media within his or her will, things can be a bit more complicated. Access to and ownership of a decedent’s e-mail accounts and digital memberships is an issue that has been worked on for nearly a decade. When it comes to “digital death” there are implications that are important to remember. The legal principles of contractual policies, probate, property and privacy concerns are all significant when it comes to determining the future of a Facebook account.

In some states, there are statutes that govern the future of a digital death. For example, in 2010 an Oklahoma statute from 2010 governs that in that state the executors and administrators have power over the decedent’s social networking accounts. Some social media services even have policies about the death of a user that can be found in their terms of service and need to uphold the values that are implied. When determining the future of a social media account, people also need to observe how the proposed solutions and the laws regarding the account interact with probate laws.

In addition, the courts will need to determine who the law and the proposed solutions regarding social media accounts protect the decedent’s privacy. In addition, the courts must preserve digital assets and try to minimize probate and litigation in these cases. Sometimes, there are extensive amounts of paperwork involved regarding these social media account cases, and it is best to avoid this. At present, many social media accounts are creating their own policies regarding the future of a user’s account upon that person’s death. Currently, the federal government is trying to minimize the amount of probate-versus-policy power struggles when it comes to these accounts.

Because Facebook issues in relation to death are relatively new, the government is still working hard to determine what should happen to these accounts when a person passes away. Some individuals may ask that their account be maintained by an appointed individual and be set up as a sort of digital memorial. Others may want the account deleted. If you are concerned about the future of your Facebook, then you need to contact an attorney or a probate professional today for more information. You will want to discuss the options for your social media status. You may want to write social media provisions into a will, or may want to discuss the maintenance of your account with a family member that you trust.

For some, a new app called DeadSocial is answering questions about what to do with social media accounts. The service puts power in the deceased’s hands and allows that person to set up messages that will be sent out on set dates after his or her death. According to the creator of the app, the program allows people to carry on relationships even after they have passed away with frequent updates and posts. A similar app for Twitter is called LivesOn, which allows the same posthumous tweets. Whether you want to maintain your own account for the future, designate an heir to take care of the responsibility, or want to terminate the website, you should hire an attorney to inform you of your legal rights today!