Do you know what happens to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts when you step into the grave??
Your social accounts contain valuable information, photos, connections, historical records, videos and family stories that exist nowhere else and are of enormous sentimental value. Even though you are no longer around to tweet, share and pin, your loved ones may want access and download your digital content.
You thought dealing with a bank account of a deceased family member was stressful enough – try accessing their online personas.
Many social accounts (if you do not know their passwords) cannot be turned over to a third party so accounts of deceased are subject to permanent deletion – this means those valuable photos, stories and videos are lost forever.
Dropbox deletes inactive accounts after 90 days, while other accounts such as Twitter, Gmail and Hotmail may provide you with some of the contents of the account but will not grant you access. Oh, but don’t forget this is an incredibly lengthy, stressful and document laden process.
Facebook will memorialise an account or delete it if provided with correct paperwork but will not give a third party access to it.
It is important to remember that Australian privacy laws currently restrict third party access to loved ones’ digital information.
So what can you do – digital planning
- Make a list of all your online accounts, usernames and passwords in an Excel Spreadsheet
- Ensure these are stored on an external and encrypted hard drive – you don’t want someone to access your accounts before you’ve kicked the bucket!!
- Appoint a trustee and give instructions in your will on how you want your accounts dealt with
- Google has a great service called “Inactive Account Manager” – you get to decide what happens to all of your Google accounts once you stop using your account
And don’t forget your mobile phone password and ebay account!!
Take action today and please share this information with your loved ones.
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