The Potential of Social Media
Leaving a Last Will and Testament is one way to memorialize a final message to one’s surviving family and friends. According to a recent article, however, greater numbers of individuals are using social media from their deathbeds in an effort to document their experience and, eventually, to say goodbye to loved ones.
Some believe that sharing information through social media, and in particular Facebook and Twitter, can assist in bringing attention toward end-of-life issues and allowing more societal openness with respect to chronic and incurable health conditions, death, and the process of dying. Patients and caregivers alike are more frequently providing coverage of the final weeks and days of life than had been possible prior to the advent of social media.
In other jurisdictions, it may be possible in rare circumstances for declarations made via social media platforms to qualify as a will or codicil, giving effect to testamentary dispositions. In Ontario, however, any such testamentary wishes expressed through a social media account would be ineffective absent strict compliance with the formal requirements imposed by sections 4 or 6 and 7 of the Succession Law Reform Act. Contents of social media profiles may, nevertheless, represent evidence of a deceased person’s intentions with respect to giving otherwise effected by a will or other testamentary instrument.
Although lawyers may encounter social media through their work on files and review of client documents, social media is also an effective way for lawyers to communicate with their clients, prospective clients, and colleagues, and share helpful information within the public sphere.
Hull & Hull LLP’s upcoming Breakfast Series presentation next Thursday, June 12, 2014, will cover the topic of Social Media for Lawyers. Special guest, award-winning author Terry Fallis, will join Ian Hull and David Freedman in discussing how to make the best of your firm’s presence on social media. For more information and to register for the Breakfast Series, please visit our website. We hope to see you next Thursday.
Thank you for reading.