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Neil Warner Yahn

Neil Yahn’s Answers

2 total

  • Estate Planning for Digital Assets

    Occasionally Avvo receives inquiries from the press about current legal issues for news articles. The following questions were submitted to us by a reporter. Attorneys responding to this question may be quoted in the story, or contacted directly b...

    Neil’s Answer

    Adding to the discussion, we have added a clause within our testamentary documents, including Powers of Attorney, that allow the appointed executor/agent to access and terminate a web profile on various social networks including Facebook, and any licenses issued therein. However, even in death, Facebook may continue and the information (defined as User Content by Facebook) will be archived.

    Facebook provides the following: under its Terms of Use:
    The Company may terminate your membership, delete your profile and any content or information that you have posted on the Site or through any Platform Application and/or prohibit you from using or accessing the Service or the Site or any Platform Application (or any portion, aspect or feature of the Service or the Site or any Platform Application) for any reason, or no reason, at any time in its sole discretion, with or without notice, including if it believes that you are under 13, or under 18 and not in high school or college. When we are notified that a user has died, we will generally, but are not obligated to, keep the user's account active under a special memorialized status for a period of time determined by us to allow other users to post and view comments.

    As you can see, Facebook has the discretion to keep the account active (but it is not obligated to do so), when a person (user) dies. But equally important, Facebook has been granted a license (even if you are the owner), to keep the information entered by you as a user (i.e., "User Content"). By posting, uploading or emailing “User Content” the person has automatically granted to Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) the information to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise (very broad). And while you may remove your “User Content” from the Site at any time and the license will automatically expire, Facebook may retain archived copies of your User Content )(although the purpose is not clear why it would be retained).

    I hope this helps...

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  • Power of attorney questions

    Five years ago, I designated my niece as my power of attorney. She has now married. Do I need to have the power of attorney changed to reflect her married name?

    Neil’s Answer

    It is always a good idea to review your estate plan every three years and given that five years appears to have passed since your last update, it is a prudent step to meet with your estate planning professional now. With that said, and to answer your question directly, the POA will still be given effect. However, as agent under the POA, your niece may have a difficult time acting under the document when her name does not match it. By way of example only, if her maiden name was Jane Doe and now she goes by Jane D. Grow (without any prior reference to her maiden name), then a bank (or other institution) may refuse to accept it without additional supporting documentation. As a result and as initially stated, I encourage you to revise your documents to reflect her new information. For more information, see 20 Pa. C.S. § 5601 addressing POAs.

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