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    What happens to my social media when I pass away?

    3/09/18 4:30 PM

    We live in a time where our social media accounts have an enormous place in our lives. Where we holiday, what we wear, and what we cook is shaped by what we discover online. As well, we leave our digital footprints all over the Internet as we share our locations, connections and activities. 

    So, what happens to those online fingerprints when we pass away? What do we do with these accounts that hold so much information about us?

    There are two directions of action that can be taken, and it hangs on one question: do you want people to have access to your account?

    If your answer is, “Yes, they can have access” you have a couple of options.

    1. Share your passwords with someone now

    If you don’t mind someone accessing your account post mortem, jot down your logins and pass them along to your chosen person now. This way the person you wish to have access to your accounts can easily deactivate or delete your account when the time comes.

    1. Hide the passwords until necessary

    If you’re fine for someone to access your account when you’ve passed away, but don’t want someone snooping through your active messages now, you can record your logins and hide them safely. With the creation of a Will you are able to store all important online and offline information in a Safe Custody Packet that is filed away until your Will is executed.

    If you’re thinking, “I really don’t want anyone to have access to my accounts whether I’m living or passed” this is what each main social media site enables.

    1. Facebook

    Facebook allows you to decide the fate of your own account now. You can choose to memorialise your account, or have it permanently deleted. Memorialising an account means that it is frozen in time and becomes a memorial site, where ‘Remembering’ is added next to your name. You are also able to elect a ‘Legacy Contact’ - someone to manage your account on your behalf. However, they are unable to post as you or view your messages. To set up: go to Settings, General, Manage Account, and you can select a Legacy Contact.

    1. Instagram

    Instagram is similar to Facebook as you can memorialise or permanently delete your account. However, you cannot decide this now, and the decision is up to those close to you after your death. You can report a deceased account through Instagram here.

    1. Twitter and LinkedIn

    These platforms have similar processes. Again, you are not able to dictate what will happen to your account presently. A close friend or family member has to report your passing to have it deactivated for both LinkedIn and Twitter. These sites do not offer a memorialise option.

    To ensure that your social media accounts are actioned as you would like, outline those wishes in your Will. If you’re not sure if it’s the right time for you to write a will, have a look here.

    If you have further questions, please contact us at frank@franklaw.com.au.

    This is not legal advice. 

    Micaela Corr

    Written by Micaela Corr