Your physical death does not automatically mean your social media death. When you are alive, you can make provisions for what happens to your social media accounts when you die. Most forms of social media have an option to nominate a legacy contact who will have access to your account when you pass away. You can ask them to close your account once you die or to keep it alive.
What if you forget to make arrangements for your social media?
If your relatives need to deal with your social media accounts because you did not make arrangements, they need to send a copy of your death certificate to the social media provider. Then they have two options:
- Deleting it: Deleting is a tidier option. However, once the account is deleted, your family will lose access to all the photos and videos you may have posted.
- Memorializing it: Memorializing your account is the other option. It means the account and its content will still be there for your family and friends to look at when they wish, but it will show that you are no longer alive.
What works best for your family is something only you can decide, but these are the basic options.
Estate planning needs to consider all digital assets
Social media is one of the many digital assets you need to consider in your estate plan. It is not the end of the world if no-one can access your Facebook account. It is a different matter if your family cannot access your finances. Your family can ask a court for access to digital assets. However, it is far easier to provide them access by nominating a digital executor of your estate in your estate plan and leaving them password details.
Take special care to do this for any cryptocurrency you hold. As many grieving families have found out, the security used can make it impossible to access if you do not leave the necessary sign-in details.