If you’re like most of us, you probably have a range of online accounts that you use each day for work and social purposes, including social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email platforms like Outlook or Gmail. In fact, research shows that the average person has over 100 passwords to remember for their different accounts!
While it’s not pleasant to think about, it’s important to think about what you would like to happen to these online accounts when you’re one day not here. By putting guidance in your will, you can help the people you left behind carry out your wishes.
Deciding what to do with your accounts is a personal choice. Below, we’ll talk you through your options, so you can choose how you would like to proceed.
What You Can Do With Your Social Media Accounts and Email
For platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you have several options regarding your digital wishes. Depending on the platform’s terms and conditions, you can choose to:
- Memorialize your online account after you pass, so your friends and families can cherish your memory through images and posts
- Set up a ‘legacy contact’ on Facebook, who will manage your account for you, without being allowed to create new posts or read previous messages for your privacy
- If you use a Google email address, you can set up the Inactive Account Manager function, which automatically gives control of your account to someone you’ve chosen after a set period of inactivity
- Download photos from these applications and store them in a cloud application for friends and family to access
- Deactivate the account so that it’s no longer accessible to the public.
With the last option, you’ll want to make sure that any important photos, posts and information on the platform are downloaded and safely saved before deletion, so your friends and family can keep them after you’ve passed.
Who Will Be Responsible For My Email and Other Accounts After I Pass Away?
It is entirely your choice who you grant access to your online accounts. The person you choose is often referred to as a ‘digital executor’. Typically, people choose a close friend or family member to be their digital executor, but you can also appoint a professional executor if you would not like your family to have access to your accounts.
Once you’ve chosen who you’d like to give this duty to, we recommend following these steps:
- Write down your account information and passwords, and share them with a person you trust.
- Include reference to these instructions in your formal will, but without details of your passwords. This is because wills are often viewed by several individuals and you want your privacy to remain protected. You may want to ask your lawyer for exact advice on what to include.
Managing Your Online Banking
Your online bank account is considered part of your estate under law. Because of this, you don’t need to take any additional steps as you do with your other online accounts. As in your will, your online bank account will be managed by the people you designate to look after it. After you pass away, this person or people will need to inform your bank.
If you use a few online bank accounts and digital only providers like PayPal, it’s wise to keep an up-to-date list of your accounts and passwords, and keep these in a secure pace with instructions to follow after you have died.
How to Prepare Your Digital Accounts in Case of Your Passing
While it’s difficult to think about this subject, it’s wise to have a plan in place for your digital presence after death. To summarize the points above, here’s a step-by-step action plan you can follow now, so you can get this sorted ahead of time and ease the burden on your loved ones:
- Create a list of your online accounts, including usernames, passwords and what you’d like to happen to each of your account after your pass away
- Name your digital executor within your will, who will carry out these wishes on your behalf
- Write a letter to this person with detailed instructions about what you’d like to them to do
Get Online Peace of Mind With Our Support
Reviewing the different social media and email services you use and planning for what you’d like to happen to them after you pass away can be difficult from an emotional and technical perspective. You don’t need to go through this alone. Our reassuring, experienced experts can help you craft a digital will and ease the burden on you and your family.
If you’d like support, contact us for more information.