Estate planning and your digital life

User agreements govern posthumous handling of social media.

Gail Bebee 28 September, 2015 | 5:00PM
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By the end of 2015, more than half the people of all ages in Canada will use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter at least once per month, according to estimates prepared by the research firm eMarketer. Canadians have clearly bought into the merits of communication via social media.

As with so many things in life, this new reality has not escaped the law of unintended consequences. The demise of home-mail delivery due to the rise of email is one example. The impact on estate planning of social media is another.

What would happen to your email and social media accounts and other digital assets, such as photos, online bank accounts and online business, if you became incapacitated or died? Would your attorney for property and financial decisions or the executor of your will be able to access them? Could she use the accounts to inform your friends about your status? Would she be able to close your accounts at a time she deems appropriate?

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About Author

Gail Bebee

Gail Bebee  Gail Bebee is an independent personal finance speaker, teacher and the author of No Hype--The Straight Goods on Investing Your Money. She can be reached at gbebee@gailbebee.com; her website is www.gailbebee.com.

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