by Barbara J Baird
We live in a world of constant communication: email, Facebook, and Twitter are simply a few ways that people let the world know their every thought and feeling. Why should this be exclusive to life? For those who wish to communicate to their loved ones after death, there are more and more precedents being set for individuals to leave messages to their friends and families. Indiana will and trust lawyer Barbara J. Baird has experience assisting clients create wills and trusts that follow their wishes, and in the digital age, those wishes are becoming increasingly digitized themselves.
Notifying Friends In A Digital Age
Even Facebook is jumping on the estate planning bandwagon. You can decide now if you want your Facebook account deleted upon your death or memorialized for friends and family to share memories. You can also name a Legacy Contact who can share a final message on your behalf, respond to new friend requests, update your profile picture and cover photo or request removal of your account.
Google has their "Inactive Account Manager", designed to manage your Google accounts after you're deceased. After a process of attempted contacts with no response, they will send a message to up to 10 people of your choosing.
There are other services that allow individuals to send out messages to their loved ones after death or to pass on access to your digital accounts upon your death. Current examples include:
The extent of services varies with each provider. With all of the services, your set of instructions is carried out. These instructions might be anything from delivering the message of your death to other loved ones, or it might be to deliver keys or passwords to your house or bank accounts. Have a video message you'd like to leave to an individual or to the general public for posterity? Some services will accommodate that.
The possibilities for how to delineate responsibility to one's loved ones after death are endless.
Why You Still Need A Lawyer
These services are useful for relaying news of your death in a quick manner, and relieving your spouse or partner of the grim task of having to notify others of your death. However, it does not replace the legal function of creating wills, trusts and guardianships. In order to properly and legally arrange for your estate after your death, you need a skilled and experienced Indiana lawyer to ensure that your wishes are followed. Your attorney should also review any material that you intend to post digitally to ensure that it does not conflict with your written estate plan and provide grounds for a probate or trust dispute.
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