Digital assets are a fast-developing area of concern for many individuals because of the vast array of complications that can arise from them. While determining who has the right to inherit your assets is a critical aspect of Estate Planning, determining who has the right to access online accounts is just as critical.
What are digital assets?
Digital assets are, in essence, any content that is stored digitally. This can include, but is not limited to, photos, videos, blogs, social media accounts, seller accounts (Amazon, Etsy), etc. Many of the social media platforms we use today are digital assets, and the information we post on our accounts create our content.
Have you ever thought about what will happen to your accounts after you pass away?
If you haven’t, that’s okay. Thinking about who will manage your digital assets once you’re gone isn’t something someone generally has at the top of their to-do list. Nevertheless, it is something people should consider. If you know who or how you would like your assets to be managed, you can leave behind instructions expressing your wishes. In doing this, you can help ensure that your accounts are being looked after and handled the way you would have wanted.
While the steps to handle your digital assets varies from platform to platform, they each have a policy outlining what happens to a member’s account upon their passing. For instance, Facebook has created a way for you, and everyone else, to ensure that your account is looked after once you’re gone—the Facebook Legacy Contact.
Originally, Facebook offered two options for an individual’s account once they passed away: (1) the account would be deleted; or (2) the account would become “memorialized” in which the individual’s account would become locked and essentially frozen in time. Now, after your account has been memorialized, Facebook allows your account to be managed by a trusted individual (the legacy contact).
So, what exactly does a legacy contact mean for you and your digital asset?
A legacy contact is someone you can select to not only look after your account, but also make decisions regarding your account in the event you are no longer able to. For instance, the legacy contact can write a tribute post to your profile, update your profile picture or cover photo, decide who can also post tributes and even request the removal of your account. However, bear in mind, that your legacy contact will have limited access to your account in the sense that they cannot access any of your private information. They cannot log onto your profile or access your Facebook messages or make friend requests on your behalf.
Regardless, when deciding who you want your legacy contact to be, remember to choose someone you trust. Having access to your account, no matter how great, is still a privilege and is considered a serious responsibility.
How do you set up a legacy contact?
It’s actually quite easy, but remember that the person you choose also needs to have a Facebook account. All you have to do is complete the following steps:
- – Go to your “Settings”
- – Under “General Account Settings” go to “Manage Account” and click “Edit”
- – Type in the contact’s name where it says, “Choose a friend” and press “Add”
After completing the above steps, you will have successfully set up a legacy contact to ensure your account is looked after and will memorialize your life. While it may not be the most important thing you do, it will allow you to ensure your legacy lives on. Even more, it will provide you and your loved ones peace of mind knowing that your online presence is being looked after.