What will happen to your digital assets when you pass away? Who will take over your email, Facebook, or Twitter accounts? Although it may seem silly to think about now, planning for how your electronic accounts will be handled after you die is an important part of the estate planning process.
While it is a good idea to include directions for handling your digital assets in your will, some service providers have simplified this process by allowing users to make an election in their account settings. Facebook users can now appoint a "legacy contact"to manage their Facebook accounts after they pass away. Before the legacy contact option became available, Facebook profiles were either deleted or frozen upon notification that a user had passed away. With legacy contacts, Facebook profiles can now live on and be continually updated long after their original owners pass away. Google offers a similar planning tool called the "Inactive Account Manager." This feature allows users to control how their Google accounts should be handled after a designated period of inactivity.
Although Facebook and Google may be ahead of the game, it is likely that many online service providers will be offering similar planning options in the future.