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Estate Planning in the Internet Age Update

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Estate Planning in the Internet Age Update

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I have previously blogged about the growing importance of estate planning for digital assets.  Facebook recently announced a change to its policy about managing profiles for deceased users.  Previously, Facebook allowed accounts to be memorialized.  Functionally, memorializing an account meant that the profile would be frozen in time.  Friends were able to make posts on the decedent’s page but the profile itself could not be changed.  Facebook has now changed its policy to allow individuals to designate a legacy contact.  According to Facebook, “[a] legacy contact is someone you choose to look after your account if it’s memorialized.”  After ones death, the legacy contact would have the power to:

Write a pinned post for your profile (ex. to share a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial service)

Response to new friend requests (ex. old friends or family members who weren’t yet on Facebook)

Update your profile picture and cover photo

Facebook notes that legacy contacts cannot:

Log into your account

Remove or change past posts, photos and other things shared on your Timeline

Read messages you’ve sent to other friends

Remove any of your friends

Facebook’s recent policy change is further evidence that estate considerations now entails more than simply distributing physical assets.  In light of the realities of the twenty-first century, it is important that you discuss digital assets and preferences with respect to social media when planning your estate.

About the author: Andrew P. Bolson, Esq. is an attorney with Meyerson, Fox, Mancinelli & Conte, P.A. in Montvale, New Jersey. Andrew’s practice focuses on commercial and estate litigation, business law, real estate law, estate planning and privacy and Internet law.

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