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2012 Archives

What Happens To Your Online Profile When You Die?

Excerpt

The following appeared on the May 14, 2012, edition of the CBS DFW tv. Law Professor Peter Vogel provided expertise for this story.

May 17, 2012

By Arezow Doost

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – You’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – but what happens to all those profiles when you pass away?  Do you keep them up or take them down – make it a memorial?
 
Also, who decides what happens to all those profiles you’ve spend years creating and keeping up?
 
It’s something Eric Allen from Dallas is thinking about, “I like to keep up with my friends and all my family in Canada,” says Allen about being online “If anything we need a will just for our social media accounts I have nothing else of that much value that I need to make a will for.”
 
Now even the federal government is suggesting to write a social media will so loved ones can control what happens to those online identities.

On a USA.gov page about wills, it suggests appointing one person who will be responsible and give that person your username and passwords and instructions on how the profiles should be handled.
 
“It makes sense that we would want to have someone designated,” says Peter Vogel, who is an attorney in Dallas and teaches internet law at SMU “I think it would be wise for anybody who wants to save their social media content to put together some kind of electronic documents that clearly delineates who ought to be responsible in case that person becomes ill or dies.”
 
Allen says as much time he spends online it only makes sense for his family.  “Something like this that can protect my family and friends and also my wife for getting messages from people who don’t know I died I would want in place.”...