What happens to your social media accounts after you die?
Social media is everywhere; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. People of all ages hold social media accounts across multiple platforms. We often use our social media profiles to preserve memories such as family photos, events and notes to friends or relatives.
It may not be common to be asked to deal with a loved one’s social media accounts after they die and therefore the process can be confusing and unfamiliar.
However, as the number of social media users increases, this will no doubt be a more common task.
What happens to these social media accounts once the ‘owner’ dies?
In this article, we explore the most commonly used social media accounts and what currently happens with each account following the death of the account owner. It is important to note that each platform may amend their terms and conditions from time to time.
There are a few options regarding what will happen to your Facebook account should you pass away.
You can elect (through your Will) to have it permanently deleted upon your death or you can add a legacy contact who will look after your account. Both options can be accessed in the Facebook Help Centre under “Managing a Deceased Person’s Account”. Once memorialized, the content that had been shared on your account during your life, remains on Facebook.
Instagram has recently allowed accounts to be memorialized. However, an authorized person will need to provide this request.
On the other hand, to have an Instagram account removed an immediate family member or representative authorized to act on behalf of your estate needs to complete a removal request form in the Instagram Help Centre. This will require providing the relevant documentation to have the account removed.
LinkedIn and Twitter
Both LinkedIn and Twitter accounts are similar, with a verified family member or a person authorized to act on behalf of the estate needing to contact each platform to deactivate accounts.
For LinkedIn, visit “Deceased LinkedIn Member”.
For Twitter, visit “Contacting Twitter about a deceased family member’s account”.
Keeping records of your social media accounts
The best practice at the moment includes keeping a list of your social media accounts and login details somewhere secure and to update it regularly.
This will be particularly important when it comes to accounts that generate financial revenue. Login details should not be included in Wills as these can be made public documents after your death.
Dealing with your social media accounts in your Will
Your wishes as to what will happen to your social media accounts in the event of your death can be captured in your Will. This reduces the burden on your loved ones and ensures accounts are dealt with according to your wishes.
If you would like to create a new Will or update your current Will to reflect how your social media accounts are dealt with or if you require assistance with administering an estate, you should contact a member of our Wills & Estate Planning team.
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This article relates to Australian law; either at a State or Federal level.
The information contained on this site is for general guidance only. No person should act or refrain from acting on the basis of such information. Appropriate professional advice should be sought based upon your particular circumstances. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Hall Payne Lawyers.