Friday, June 17, 2011

Estate Planning for One's Social Media

While traditional estate planning deals with one's physical assets such as bank accounts, stocks and bonds, brokerage accounts, real and personal property, etc. the mark of a good estate plan goes beyond these matters to reflect a client's goals, legacy and history for future generations. Today one's social media may record more about a person's hopes, dreams and goals than ever before. So what happens to your Twitter, Facebook or Linked-In accounts when someone dies?

Facebook has a page here whereby one's Facebook page can be memorialized for friends of the deceased Facebook owner. Comments can be left on the wall for the family. The same link can also be used to close the account.

Twitter has a policy that sets forth the requirements for saving a deceased's public tweets or deleting them. They require the following information:

  1. Your full name, contact information (including e-mail address), and your relationship to the deceased user;

  2. The username for the Twitter account, or a link to the profile page of the Twitter account.

  3. A link to a public obituary or news article.

One can either contact them at or mail or fax at:

Twitter, Inc.
c/o: Trust & Safety
795 Folsom Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94107

Fax: 415-222-9958

Linked-In has a very simple "Verification of Death Form" here. One can opt to submit the form on-line or via Fax.

As with a person's other property, one's estate planning may include instructions on how one wishes their intangible property to be used even after one's death. Social media may do more to preserve one's photos, videos and conversations for future generations than ever before possible.

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