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How to Protect Your Social Media Assets

by Caldwell Trust

You can utilize the following tips to protect your social media assets and make the transition easier on your loved ones.

1. Make a List of Your Social Media Assets

You will need to keep a detailed record of the social media sites that you use to store photos, messages and other personal information. As you create additional accounts on other social media platforms, be sure to add them to the list.


Depending on your interests, you may have accounts on the following sites:

  • Facebook
  • Myspace
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • YouTube
  • WhatsApp
  • Instagram

Reflect on your internet usage history to create your list, and then keep it somewhere safe while you complete the next step.


2. Appoint a Successor

Another important step involves the identification of a successor who can access and manage your social media accounts. Although you can choose a friend or family member, a trustee is often a better option, as they have a legal obligation to act in your best interests.


After choosing your successor, you will need to discuss your wishes for your social media accounts and see if he or she is willing to manage them. You should also include your plans in your estate planning documents (which we’ll discuss below).


3. Provide Access to Accounts

In order to manage and control your social media accounts, your successor must have access. Using your list of social media accounts, write down your account names, passwords and pin numbers used to access each platform.


You should also write down answers to your security questions and provide access to your email as an alternative way into your social media accounts. Once you have all this information compiled, keep it safe in a protected location, such as a safe deposit box, to prevent theft or hacking.


4. Outline Wishes in Estate Planning Documents

Including social media asset management into your estate planning ensures that your accounts are protected, your successor is clearly stated and access is granted in a timely manner. For example, you will need to state whether you want your accounts deleted, memorialized or even transferred to another person.


Protecting Your Social Media Accounts

Estate planning for social media helps ensure that you remain in control of those entities. Your efforts will ensure you have a successor in place and they know what to do with your accounts and how to gain access in the event of your death. And following the steps above will help to protect your identity, values and legacy - even in the digital space. 


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