Planning includes 'will' for social media accounts

May 14, 2012 3:39:37 PM PDT
What happens to your Facebook and Twitter account after you are no longer around? It's an important question because of all the information you have on your account. That's why the government is pushing the idea of a social media "will."

The cyber world will go on long after you have made your final Facebook post. However, all those accounts you created will need to be managed by someone, but will anyone have the password?

Charlotte Berling's first wave and eventually her first words will end up on Facebook, thanks to her mom Cristie.

"Walking, changes she is going through, that kind of stuff," Cristie explained.

Berling is not alone in her use of Facebook. Millions of people use the social media giant. While it gains members every day, some Facebook profiles belong to people no longer alive, leaving the question, what happens to our online lives when we are no longer around?

Berling said, "I guess I would not want it out there. I do not think I would want it to be some kind of memoriam to me, I think it would be strange for me."

The federal government is taking online afterlife seriously, recently adding social media will as part of a person's estate planning. Recommendations include appointing someone you trust at your online executor. They would be responsible for closing email addresses, social media profiles and blogs after you have died.

Alex Diaz with Top Tech Experts in Houston said, "Once you are gone, those accounts are still active and somebody needs to handle them." Diaz says he's seen people come into his computer repair shop asking for password recoveries after a person has passed on.

"Having a plan and leaving the right people in charge of those specific sites, whether they be financial or personal is very important," Diaz explained. "That's you after you are gone."

Your online executor would need a document that lists all the websites where you have a profile, along with user names and passwords. That executor would also need a copy of your death certificate and know if you want your profiles deleted, suspended or turned into a memorial.

One of the problems with gathering all your password information is that it often changes, so you'll have to be very diligent about updating any information you leave someone. There are websites that can help.


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