Digital Assets After Death

Uh, Facebook?  Are you trying to tell me something?  I’m Amy E. Feldman.

In what one hopes is simply an editing error, in its terms and conditions, a Facebook message reads: a new Digital Legacy program lets you designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your account in the event of your death, with an asterisk that leads to the fine print: “*coming later this year”.  Wait, what?  My death is what?  One hopes that’s a dangling modifier problem and not that Facebook knows everything.

But what they do know is most people assume that power over their social media accounts automatically goes to their executor after their death, but that’s not what the law says.  Under the law, digital assets are governed by the terms of use of each system.  So until Facebook creates its Legacy Contacts later this year, be clear in your will and leave your passwords where someone other than Facebook can know all.

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