By Chase Hill / January 19, 2019

What Happens to Your Digital Passwords After You Die?

Digital assets are being included in wills and trusts.

In this photo illustration the apps of social media networks WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram are displayed on a smartphone on February 12, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
In this photo illustration the apps of social media networks WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram are displayed on a smartphone on February 12, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

Two things are certain in life: death and taxes.

If you’re dead, staxes are no longer a worry, but what happens to your Facebook password once you’ve passed?

“It’s impressive to me how many times people don’t recognize the extent of digital assets that they own,” Mark Parthemer, Managing Director and Senior Fiduciary Counsel at Bessemer Trust tells Popular Science. “With many clients, they’re concerned about financial things, but they need to protect the sentimental assets too, like photographs.”

Users should start making a digital inventory of their online presence in preparation. This includes photos and videos stored online, emails, social media accounts and even the contact list on your phone.

As a precaution, users should designate a person or people to have access and control of their digital footprint.

They can assign someone to to be a “Legacy Contact” over the Facebook page that can control their profiles after death, confirm friend requests and make post on the page which then becomes a memorial.

Google offers an Inactive Account Manager that, after a period of inactivity, can notify a list of contacts the user designates to access the account data.

Not all companies and apps offer the ability to pass along data or account information once the person has died so a lawyer may be necessary.

Forty one states have adopted laws that allow users to declare who can access what information, but a person will need to include a provision in their trust or will and power of attorney.

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