When you die, your social media accounts and websites may be left in the hands of immediate family members or even deactivated. If you want to control your digital life after your actual death, you may need to consider a trust for your online presence.
Placing these accounts in the care of a trust during your life can ensure that they are maintained post-mortem and that private information may not accessed by those you don't trust.
Here are just a few reasons to consider a trust for your websites and social media accounts:
No Consistent Policy Across Social Media Accounts
Most Internet users, especially the ever-growing Millennial generation, have at least one if not a handful of social media accounts, brimming with personal information, photos, and history. The problem with having these many social media accounts upon death is that there is no consistent policy across the social media platforms when it comes to deactivation.
As Mashable reports, Twitter and Google will deactivate accounts automatically after several months of inactivity, but your Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn pages will not automatically shut down. Facebook gives users the option of leaving a page up as a "memorial" and requires proof of your death before giving this option to loved ones. Placing ownership of these accounts in a trust may be a simple way to normalize these differences in social media platform policies.
If the trust is the account owner, then legally, it can be instructed to give access to specific persons as your social media "agents" after death. Various states have attempted to solve this problem with after-death digital access laws, but your trust will be a more closely tailored way of assuring your digital wishes are carried out.
Website Will Continue Uninterrupted
Your business websites and personal blogs may also become inactive unless they are included in some form of digital estate planning.
For business websites, it may make sense to place your business and any business digital assets in a trust, so that the business may persist uninterrupted after your death. Even if you don't want your website to continue once you've bitten the dust, your trustee can ensure that its accounts, data, and any assets are saved and transferred to the proper parties.
If you have any questions about how a trust can help protect your social media accounts or website once you've passed on, contact an estate planning attorney today.