Death and Facebook
The death of a loved one is always a very difficult time for the bereaved. They may also be the deceased’s Personal Representatives (PRs), that is the people appointed Executors under the deceased’s Will, or the person entitled to administer the estate if there is no valid Will.
Dealing with everything left by the dead person requires uncovering all the assets and any debts but have you ever thought about what happens about the deceased’s Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Apple I Tunes etc.?
Anyone with legal responsibility for sorting out a deceased’s estate is required to make thorough investigations about all assets and liabilities of the deceased at the date of death. This may be a far from easy task, particularly as the deceased may not have left a comprehensive, up to date list and/or passwords for social media etc. may not be known. Even so, the Personal Representative cannot ignore this responsibility.
It is also important to appreciate the difference between “assets” and “licences”. An on-line only bank account is an asset, whereas i-Tunes music is a licence allowing the account holder to access the music but not own it. This means a music licence is treated differently when administering the deceased’s estate and beneficiaries’ entitlements.
Unfortunately, there is no “one stop” to deal with all digital accounts and each organisation has its own rules and procedures.
For a free, brief informal chat about dealing with a deceased’s estate or to plan your own affairs to make it as smooth as possible for your PRs, please feel free to contact me for further advice.
Member STEP Digital Assets Special Interest Group