Is There Facebook After Death?

The estate and probate attorneys at Spitler Huffman law firm have substantial experience representing clients in estate and probate matters.  Located in Bowling Green and Rossford, Ohio we are dedicated to serving clients in Northwest Ohio including Wood, Henry, Hancock, and Sandusky Counties.  If you live in Bowling Green, Findlay, Perrysburg, Napoleon, Port Clinton, Fremont, Rossford, or other areas in Northwest Ohio and need estate and probate assistance, contact us today.

In an era where “it isn’t official until it’s posted on Facebook,” what happens to our profiles when we die?

With Facebook reporting that it has over 1.7 billion “active” users (or users that have logged in at some point within the last 30 days), about a quarter of the world is on Facebook every month.  With so many users, a few are bound to pass away every so often.

For the planners out there- there are options.  In response to The Inevitable, Facebook has put in place methods for a user to dictate the terms of your account prior to death.

Before Death:

Facebook gives users three options for their accounts after death- 1. Create a “Memorialized” account, 2. Deactivate upon death, or 3. Do nothing.

If you choose a Memorialized account, once Facebook is notified of your death you basically get a page where people can continue to post on a special memorial timeline.  If you choose, you can name a “legacy contact” to administer the page on your behalf, but your legacy will be limited to the memorial page.

If you choose to set your account to deactivate upon death, Facebook simply deactivates your account once it receives a death notice.

If a User Does Nothing:

That just leaves the 90 plus percent of users who have not designated any action for their Facebook account.  If this happens, your family or the fiduciary of your estate may request that your account be deactivated, or may seek a court order to shut down your account.

A Little Planning Goes A Long Way: 

Most of us write our 19 different passwords down on 19 different pieces of paper that we can never find later.  News flash- if you can’t find your passwords, your next of kin won’t be able to either.  As for legal intervention- laws so far have been slow to catch up with the problem of fiduciary access to the online records of a deceased person.  Some states, like Oklahoma and Idaho, have taken steps to authorize fiduciary access to online accounts.  However, if you live elsewhere, maybe it’s time to get more organized and make a plan which includes your digital information.

Though planning for your digital estate may seem trivial in comparison to estate planning for your health or financial future, the large and ever-increasing role of technology in our day to day financial and social lives means digital records may need to be addressed with your estate planner.  Accurate records will help your loved ones efficiently handle your estate.  And that’s something everybody likes.

-Posted by CCI

Ayersville Water & Sewer District Recovers Substantial Share of Missing Funds

Defiance, Ohio- The Ayersville Water & Sewer District has recovered a substantial share of funds which, according to the State Auditor, were apparently taken by a former District employee.  The District, in collaboration with the Ohio Attorney General’s office, recovered roughly 80% of the misappropriated funds.  A link to the Crescent-News article on the investigation and recovery can be found here:

-Posted by CCI

Trihalomethanes: You Don’t Have Cholera (But You Might Still Have a Problem)

When was the last time you missed work because you had cholera?  Never, because for the last hundred years or so, U.S. water distribution systems have been disinfecting drinking water by adding chlorine.

Chlorine itself is a cheap and effective killer of bacteria and viruses which would otherwise find their way into our drinking water, which makes it one of the biggest public health breakthroughs of the 20th century.  It does, however, have a drawback- as chlorine disinfects, it breaks down as it comes into contact with other compounds in the water.

Things you can’t pronounce may still be bad for you:

The results of this breakdown are carcinogenic trihalomethanes (or “THMs”) and haloacetic acids (“HAA5”).  People exposed to high concentrations over long periods of time have an increased risk of cancer and liver, kidney, and nerve damage.  This danger has led the EPA to use its authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act to set “maximum contaminant levels” (commonly referred to as “MCLs”) for these compounds.

Rural water systems are more likely to have these issues with the Ohio EPA:

In Ohio, many rural water systems exceed their MCLs for these compounds and end up getting hit with EPA findings and orders to lower their levels.  Why rural systems?  Because the water has fewer end users and travels longer distances, the chlorine stays in the pipe longer and has more time to break down.

In response, rural systems tend to do at least one of four things- they 1. flush (dump water out at an end point to increase the volume of water moving through the system in order to get fresher water faster), 2. they aerate (which removes the THMs), 3. they treat with activated carbon (which removes both THMs and HAA5s), 4. they change their input system (e.g. the amount of chlorine used or location of its addition or the treatment method itself).

If you are a customer or operator of a rural water system, then at some point you are going to hear about chlorine disinfection byproducts.  It may not be as exciting or newsworthy as lead in Flint, Michigan’s water supply (by the way Flint also exceeded safe THM levels) but it’s certainly an ongoing challenge for water distribution systems in rural Ohio.

But hey- good news- at least you don’t have cholera.  So there’s that.

For some good summary guidance on the subject, the EPA’s fact sheet is below:

-Posted by CCI