Creating a Social Media Will
I recently lost a good friend. He had a traditional will which included the distribution of his bank accounts and personal property upon his death, but he did not leave instructions about his social media accounts. He had a Facebook page and a Linkedin account which are both still active today.
The following article provides information regarding the importance of including your social media accounts as part of your last will:
Social Media Wills: What You Need to Know
“Do you use social media every day without a second thought? Is Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram the first thing you check when you wake up? If so, have you ever thought about how you want your online presence managed in the event you pass away?
Most of us haven’t thought about what would happen to the life we’ve created online once we’re gone. But we spend so much of our time on social media that we need to think about this (no matter how morbid it seems). And that brings us to the importance of creating a social media will.
Let’s look at exactly what a social media will is, what it does for you, if it’s truly necessary, and how you can go about drafting one.”
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Presented on The Lutheran Hour on October 30, 2016
By Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Copyright 2016 Lutheran Hour Ministries
“Although it is not strictly mandatory from a legal point of view, novels and films have taught us that a person’s last Will and Testament really ought to begin with the words, “I (and then you insert your whole name) being of sound mind and body, do hereby bequeath to (and then you list who gets what). Now that phrase has always caused me a problem. Since many wills are written when a person’s physical condition has deteriorated to the point where they expect the grim reaper to come calling any minute, how can they say they are in ‘sound body.’ So, rather than wondering, I went to one of my lawyer friends and asked him. He laughed and told me that the expression is not a medical one; it is merely a statement that the individual is capable of making the decisions which follow in the rest of the document.
Then he added, ‘From my own perspective on things, I believe you might be asking the wrong question. There’s a lot of evidence which indicates it’s not a person’s body which ought to be questioned, it’s their minds.’ Now that opened up a new can of worms. I asked for an explanation. He told me that the bequests made in wills are often a time for a person to vent, or get even, or take revenge on a spouse, friend, or relative. When I asked him to amplify, he said, ‘Well, there is the case of Leona Helmsley. Her will left $12 million to her dog. As far as her grandchildren were concerned, some of them she cut out of her will entirely, the rest were ordered to pay an annual visit to their father’s grave; that is if they wanted to collect anything.’
My friend continued. He told me about the Michigan millionaire, Wellington Burt who died in 1919. His will specified that nobody would get a penny until 21 years after his last grandchild died. In November of 2010, more than 90 years later, twelve people divided up Burt’s $110 million. My lawyer pal was just warming up. He told me about the German poet Heinrich Heine who, in 1856, left his fortune to his wife, Mathilda. There was only one condition to her collecting the cash; Mathilda had to remarry so, as the poet put it ‘there will be at least one man to regret my death.’
When I asked my friend if anyone had ever made a good bequest, he had to think a bit. Then my friend mentioned Jack Benny, the comedian. Through their entire marriage Jack had a rose delivered daily to his wife. When he died in 1974, his wife, Mary, kept getting a rose from their florist. Finally she paid the man a visit and said, ‘No more roses. Jack is gone.’ He replied, ‘Mrs. Benny, you don’t understand. Your husband’s will has given me enough money to insure you will get a red rose, every day, for the rest of your life.’
So, that pretty much sums up my lawyer friend’s examples of what it means to be ‘of sound mind and body’ when you’re writing your will. And it gives me the opportunity to ask, ‘Since you are of sound mind and body, when you die, what will you leave behind and who will get what you leave behind?'” Read more
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Writing a will. Where do I start?
This summer I ordered a state-specific Last Will & Testament download for just $24.95 from daveramsey.com and US Legal Forms. Because it was a download I was able to fill it out immediately. A Will, Living Will and Power of Attorney package is just $39. It was easy to fill in the blanks. What wasn’t so easy was deciding what specific property I wanted to leave to my heirs. Experts suggest that even if you use a fill-in-the-blank will kit you should have an attorney double-check that you haven’t left out anything. But I believe that even a will you complete yourself is better than no will at all.
Dave Ramsey is the host of the nationally syndicated The Dave Ramsey radio show, the founder of Financial Peace University and the author of several best-selling books including The Total Money Makeover.