Your Digital Estate: the Future of Estate Law

Your estate includes everything you own: tangible, intangible, real, personal and even digital. Often, when estate planning, people forget about the intangible and digital. Examples of digital property you might own includes domain registrations, online or digital bank accounts and financial accounts, file-sharing accounts, social networking accounts, digital pictures, videos, music, books and email accounts. Vancouver Estate Lawyers know that digital estate planning is complicated because various ownership models exist, and often people own certain portions or rights related to digital property as opposed to the actual property itself.

As an example of digital estate planning, on February 12, 2015, Facebook announced a new feature that will allow Facebook users to choose whether they want their Facebook accounts to remain active or be deleted after their death.

If, after death, you would like your account to remain active, you may choose a family member or friend to manage your account after you pass away. This person is called the “Legacy Contact”. The feature will allow friends or family members of a recently deceased person to let Facebook know that person is deceased. Facebook will then “memorialize” the account and the legacy contact as chosen by the deceased will be able to write posts on the Timeline, respond to new friend requests and update the profile picture and cover photo.

The deceased Facebook user also has the option of giving their legacy contact permission to download an archive of photos, posts and information they shared on Facebook.

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