Modern technology and social media have created a new area that should be included in your estate planning. Fortunately, a new law in California took effect on January 1, 2017 that will determine whether your social media accounts can be accessed by a fiduciary (such as a trustee) after you die.
The new law sets out a three-part test for access to accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and even email:
Any preferences set out in the online platform itself, will have highest priority. For example, Facebook has a tool to create a legacy contact that would grant access to a third party after death.
If no legacy contact is selected, the next level is specific instructions in the will of how accounts should be handled and who should have access.
If there are no instructions in the will, the final default right of access would depend on the media platform’s terms of service.
It might be time to update your Facebook preferences as the new law takes effect, and you may want to amend your will or trust to include access to social media.