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Facebook Creates Digital Will Service - Google Docs

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Facebook Creates Its Own Digital Will Service


As a tax and estate planning attorney, I frequently help clients create estate plans that dictate how one's corporeal assets will be utilized post-death. When it comes to digital assets, however, planning becomes more difficult.


Does one hand a list of their secure passwords to a close friend or family member for safekeeping? But what happens when those passwords change, as they frequently do and should? What happens if there is a falling-out between the two individuals? While everyone should update their estate plan at least once a year, this does not always occur. As Claire Cain Miller phrases the question over at the Times: "One of the most haunting questions facing Web ... users is, what happens to the stuff of our digital lives after we die?"


Google previously released its own answer to this perennial question: "Inactive Account Manager." Google's Product Manager, Andreas Tuerk, states: "Not many of us like thinking about death -- especially our own. But making plans for what happens after you're gone is really important for the people you leave behind. So [we've launched] a new feature that makes it easy to tell Google what you want done with your digital assets when you die or can no longer use your account."


Facebook now follows Google's path by introducing what it terms "legacy contacts", allowing your designated contact to manage your Facebook profile after your death. Your legacy contact's powers would include the ability to respond to friend requests from individuals not previously connected with you, update your profile and cover photos, and announce a memorial service or share a special message. "The legacy contact will not be able to log in as the person who passed away or see that person's private messages."


For more information on taking advantage of this new service, head on over to Facebook's blog post for the details.



Pinni Bohm, J.D., LL.M. (Tax), is a NYC tax and estate planning attorney. He can be contacted by email.

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