If you’re one of the 295 million Americans who use social media, you’ve amassed a library of posts, images, comments, videos, and other content. Your family’s social media presence may be intricately intertwined, with a web of sharing and commenting on each other’s posts. In addition to paying attention to all other aspects of estate planning, it is critical to make sure your digital legacy is taken care of.
According to Facebook, you can choose to either appoint a legacy contact to look after your memorialized account or have your account permanently deleted by Facebook. Under memorialization settings on Facebook, you can request that your account be deleted after you die and appoint your legacy contact.
If you don’t choose to have your Facebook account permanently deleted, then the account will be memorialized as soon as Facebook is aware of your passing.
If you choose a legacy contact, this person can look after your memorialized account. They can:
- Accept friend requests
- Pin a tribute post to the profile
- Change the profile picture
- Change the cover photo
- Decide who can see and post tributes, if there is an area for tributes
What does a Facebook memorialized account look like?
A memorialized account allows your friends and family to access the account and share memories. Key features of a memorialized account include:
- The word “remembering” will be placed next to your name on your profile.
- If privacy settings allow, your friends and family can share memories on your timeline.
- Your content on Facebook will remain and be shared with the same people.
- No one will be able to access or log into a memorialized account.
- If you don’t name a legacy contact, your account cannot be changed.
- With a valid memorialization request, pages with a sole admin whose account was memorialized will be removed from Facebook.
If Instagram receives a notification that someone has passed away, the account can be memorialized. If an immediate family member makes the request, the account can be deleted. Acceptable documents to show that you are an immediate family member include:
- The deceased person’s birth certificate
- The deceased person’s death certificate
- Proof of authority under local law that they are the deceased person’s representative
A family member or friend can provide a link to an obituary or news article as proof of death to have the account memorialized.
Instagram will take measures to protect the deceased person’s privacy by securing their account and monitoring for any Instagram activity that may upset the person’s friends and family.
A family member can contact Pinterest to have a deceased person’s account deactivated. Once an account has been deactivated, it will no longer be accessible to anyone.
Pinterest does not provide a way to designate someone to manage your account after your death.
Snapchat does not allow access to another person’s account. However, if you provide a copy of the death certificate, they will delete the deceased person’s Snapchat account.
Twitter does not allow access to another person’s account. If you are the legally authorized representative of a person’s account or an immediate family member, you can contact Twitter to shut down the account. Twitter requires that you have an identification document for the deceased person, along with a death certificate to prevent false or unauthorized reports.
LinkedIn allows someone who has the authority to act on the deceased person’s behalf to have their account memorialized or closed. It may take up to 21 days to close the account.
To make the request to memorialize or close a LinkedIn account, in addition to the deceased person’s death certificate and a legal document showing that you are authorized to act on their behalf, you will need:
- Member’s full name
- LinkedIn profile link/URL
- Your relationship
- Member’s email address
- Date of their passing
- Link to an obituary
If you are not authorized to act on behalf of the deceased person, you can report their death. LinkedIn will then hide their account, which means it is no longer searchable or viewable on LinkedIn.
YouTube is affiliated with Google. Google recommends all users set up inactive account manager. Here you can designate who can access your account and whether you want your account deleted. An inactive account manager will be informed of the data you have chosen to share with them, along with a link to access that data.
You can close the account of a deceased YouTube or Google user, request access to the deceased person’s funds, or access data from the account by providing:
- The deceased person’s name and email address
- The relative/legal representative’s name and email address
- Date of death
- A scan of the decedent’s death certificate
- A scan of the relative/legal representative’s government-issued ID
As part of your comprehensive estate plans, it’s important to include a list of all your social media accounts and what your wishes are for each account. We can help you with your estate plans.