What Happens to my online accounts after I die?

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from Market Pie

When we think of succession planning, we often think of estates, wills and exit strategies for businesses. But one area many people are not prepared for, is what happens to all your social media, and business accounts when you die. Maybe you don’t use a lot of online accounts and don’t really care what happens to your info. However, you should check this stat out: over 2,200 DEAD Americans every DAY are targeted for identity theft.

Hackers and identity thieves prey on these accounts because it’s very difficult to keep tabs on identity theft when someone is not around to notice. Imagine also the emotional drain of your family having to deal with a fake version of you coming up, and police investigating them.

With all of that to say, take a few simple steps to safeguard your identity online! Here are a few of the major sites that you will want to shore up.

How to Control Your Facebook Account After You have died

Facebook has two great options for dealing with the deceased accounts: Memorializing and Deletion. First off, how does Facebook know you’ve died? Facebook can know you have died if users submit reports to figure this out.

Deletion: If you set your account for deletion, this is pretty simple. It will delete the account when Facebook has been informed of your passing.

Memorialized: If you want your account to stay active, then choosing someone to manage your account at your death would be important. This allows the person to monitor your account, and ensure that the account is best used to help those grieving. One tip: Close family members should not use each other as trustees. If a husband and wife both had each other as legacy trustees, and you both died… it would sort of defeat the point.

If you have not set a legacy setting for your account, your account will be memorialized, your name changed to: “Remembering _____”, and anyone who was friends with you at the time of your passing will have access to share memories of you.

What can this person do on your account? Share a final message on your behalf: for example, if you need to give information about a memorial service. Make sure your setting allows your legacy contact to post temporarily. Once it is memorialized, your legacy contact won’t be allowed to post if you have it set for only you to post.

Update your Profile Photo. Which might be a life saver, if you had something silly up. They can request removal of your account. One option is to give them the ability to download your data.

What Your Legal Contact Can’t Do: A legacy contact must be at least 18 or older. Your legacy contact cannot do the following things:

  • Log into your account
  • Remove or change past posts, photos and other things shared on your timeline
  • Read your messages
  • Remove any of your friends or make new friend requests
  • Add a new legacy contact to your account

How to Control your Google Account After Your Death:

How much of your life is in your Gmail? How many accounts use it as your password recovery? How about recent documents you might have been sending that need to be copied for your family or business?

When you appoint a trustee, you can tell Google to send them access to your account if you go inactive for 2,6,9, 12 months, or however long you want to set. You can also set a deletion event so that, if the trustee does not get to the info in time, the account will be deleted, preventing identity theft, or other malicious harm that could happen after you’re gone. Go to Google’s Inactive Account Manager, and appoint a trustee.

Reporting a Twitter User That has Died:

Twitter is a little simpler. They specifically say there is no way to have an account managed, which, due to the nature of how most people use twitter, is not that bad of a system.

How about everything else?

If you are a business owner, you probably have a plethora of programs that are needed to run your business: everything from G Suite, Mailing Lists, Productivity tools, and so on. It’s important to have a way to store all your passwords, otherwise your business might lose some mission critical infrastructure. Imagine your partner or family trying to run a business if the main point of contact email is inaccessible?

A simple recommendation is to have some passwords for all your non-sensitive accounts (like banking info) on a Google sheet in an easy-to-find location. And ensure that your will states, or your business partners know, how to access that information.

 

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