As social media continues increase its presence in our daily lives, it’s a legitimate question to wonder what happens to your account when you pass away. The answer: It depends…
The most important step that you can take with respect to this information is to leave written directions to your loved ones regarding your wishes. Without that, your heirs will be left to guess what you would prefer to be done with your accounts.
Each platform offers different options for what happens to your account when you die:
- Facebook: Facebook will allow you to designate a “legacy contact” who can memorialize your account and take several actions on your behalf. This includes adding a pinned post to your profile, decide who can and cannot post tributes on your page, remove tags on posts you have been tagged in, update your profile picture, download a copy of what you have shared on Facebook, or even request removal of your account.
- Instagram: Instagram will “memorialize” an account upon receiving notice of the user’s death, which leaves the content in place, but will prevent the account from showing up in searches or other featured content. Instagram will also delete the user’s account upon request from an appropriate representative of the person’s estate and receipt of documentation of the user’s death.
- Twitter: Twitter only provides an option to have the deceased user’s account removed. However, if the user is “incapacitated”, they will deactivate the user’s account upon request from an authorized representative of the incapacitated user (such as someone acting under a Durable Power of Attorney).
- Pinterest: Pinterest will deactivate a deceased user’s account if you “get in touch with them”.
- Snapchat: Snapchat’s policy does not allow any access to the deceased user’s account, but they will delete the account if provided with a copy of the decedent’s death certificate.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn will remove a deceased user’s profile upon valid proof of the user’s death, such as a link to an obituary, news article, or the representative of the decedent’s estate providing a copy of the death certificate.
While this list is not exhaustive of where you may have a social media presence, it shows that there are options available to those you leave behind regarding what to do with your accounts. Do you prefer they be closed? “Memorialized”? Or perhaps left alone for your friends and family to view when they wish to remember you?
You should make your wishes known regarding your social media presence in your Estate Plan. For assistance with this, please give one of our attorneys a call at 408-294-4525, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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