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Social media – where there’s a Will, there’s a way

A solicitor is urging people to use a Will to pass on social media and other online account details to loved ones after death.

Liz Byrne, solicitor in the Wills & Estate Planning team at Lancashire law firm Napthens, reports that her team is regularly advising people making Wills on how to ensure that important online log-in details are available to loved ones after death.

Some online services already have their own ways to do this – it was recently reported that in America, Facebook had launched a ‘legacy contact feature’ for this purpose.

However, Liz reveals that an efficient way of bringing information together from various accounts and services is to use a Will.

She said: “There are so many services most of use on a daily basis – not just social media, but to pay household utility and phone bills.

“Making sure your loved ones have all the access details is important, but is often something people simply don’t think about.

“However, attempting to access an online account in the name of a deceased loved one can be very difficult, so this is certainly an issue to keep in mind when having a Will drawn up.

“A Will can include a separate clause designed specifically for this purpose, or an accompanying letter which is recognised by courts as a strong indication of a deceased’s intentions. It’s important to remember passwords shouldn’t be included in the Will itself.

“It’s important for people to review their Will professionally either every few years or every time their circumstances change significantly, for instance with the birth of a child.

“When this is done it’s becoming increasingly important to bear in mind access to online services so people should seek the proper advice.”