Social Media in Wills & Estates Planning

By Barry Johnson Director, Wills & Estates | Commercial

Last week I was perusing LinkedIn and I received two professional requests by individuals who were known within my networks to be deceased. As a Wills & Estates practitioner, it got me thinking about the many clients I have sat down with in consultation, unaware that they can include social media accounts as part of their Wills instructions.

Most social media sites do not have a clear policy as to what happens to a social media account when a loved one passes away. The process can be highly involved, often requiring a death certificate and this can be a stressful process at a very emotional time, so it is important to have clear instructions as to who will manage your accounts and for what purpose. This also means that you are less likely to fall victim to identity theft even after you die.

Why should this matter?

In terms of Wills & Estates Planning, should someone pretend to be you, they could access a number of credit facilities on your behalf (should they still be kept active by your beneficiaries) and/or your reputation could be damaged should anyone try and defame you posthumously. If you are a public figure, a business owner or HNWI (high net worth individual) the reputational damage to your name, brand or family could be significant.

Things to consider

  1. Make a list of all the accounts you have i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc
  2. Create a password list in softcopy and hardcopy form – give this to the person you trust
  3. Detail who you would like to manage your accounts and for what purpose

If you would like to include social media as part of your Wills & Estates Planning, or to find out more, call us on 07 3221 2527 or email me directly bjohnson@crouch-lyndon.com.au