People make preparations for the end of life in a variety of ways. Some purchase life insurance, other will make out a will. There are those with living wills and those who will pre-plan and even pre-pay for their funeral. All of these are good ideas, but there is another area that is becoming increasingly important to consider, that of your digital legacy. A digital legacy plan is a plan for your digital and social media accounts. Like a will, most social media has a default plan for what will happen to your social media accounts if you aren’t proactive.
Upon your death, only a verified member of your family can ask for the removal of your Facebook page and a death certificate may be required. Facebook provides for two options upon a death.
- Deletion. This can be requested by a verified family member or may be done in advance by the user. The user can assign a legacy contact, but the account will be permanently deleted if the user had previously requested it.
- Memorialization. Following your death, your Facebook page can serve as a memorial and place where online friends can share memories. You can do this in advance by choosing a “legacy contact” to administer your account. This person needs to be one of your Facebook friends and while they can update photos and respond to friend requests, they will not have access to private messages or your profile.
Twitter will only deactivate a deceased account when requested by a verified family member or executor. They may request documentation like a death certificate, obituary or other info. If a specific request is not made, the Twitter account will remain active.
Instagram will remove an account at the request of a verified family member who provides proper documentation of a death. Instagram, however, does not provide for a user to choose memorialization or removal.
Your Digital Legacy Plan
Those who spend a lot of time online can frequently have a substantial digital footprint. This includes everything from multiple email accounts, apps, online shopping accounts, gaming and entertainment sites, banking and financial sites and more. Making sure this information is secure is an important part of making final plans. You should gather all of your digital account information in one safe location, with passwords. You can choose to make your executor responsible or choose a digital executor. They should be at least somewhat familiar with the digital asset laws in your state. You can also make your digital legacy plan a part of an existing will.
Like preplanning for final services, a digital legacy plan can help make things a bit easier for loved ones upon your death. It may take time to gather all of your information and make your wishes known, but can be well worth the effort.
At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory, we can help you and your family through the difficult times following the death of a loved one. We have also seen the value of preplanning and can help make sure you have all aspects covered. To learn more, please feel free to contact us.