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Wills can spell out who inherits digital accounts in B.C.

Living in a technological age, most people have social media pages on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All these sites need passwords to access. What happens if tragedy should strike and the owner of the pages dies? British Columbia residents can make provisions in their wills as to who looks after their digital accounts when they die.

It could be the person designated to look after the estate, perhaps a spouse or a family member. However, if the deceased person does not mention his or her digital assets in a will, the one who inherits the estate may have a problem when it comes to trying to access any accounts. Ownership of digital assets is not that clear cut. Often, the service provider is the one to control it. Sometimes, in the fine print of these sites, service providers will indicate that the deceased doesn't own the rights to online material, in which case digital assets may not be transferable.

To be on the safe side, people may want to provide log-in information to someone trusted and include it in all estate planning documents such as powers of attorney and wills. By doing so, family members will have a clear understanding of how these accounts should be treated. They will be given a clear indication as to whether accounts should be shut down or used as a means to memorialize the memory of the deceased.

Wills typically provide loved ones with clarity. Sitting down with a wills and estates lawyer who is seasoned in wills and estates law will provide British Columbia residents with answers as to the legalities of estate planning. A lawyer can help prepare a will particular to a client's personal wishes. 

Source: findlaw.ca, "Who gets your digital accounts when you die?", Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Sept. 30, 2017

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