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What Happens to Our Social Media Accounts After We Die?

Social media is an integral part of our lives. In 2021, about 82% of people in the United States had at least one social media profile. But when we die, what happens to our profiles and all the content we’ve shared? Or if you lose a friend or loved one, what are we supposed to do with their digital presence?

Well, with proper estate planning, we can determine ahead of time what should happen with our social media accounts after we pass away.

Facebook

If You Do Nothing

According to Facebook’s Help Center, they can memorialize your account as long as someone informs them of your passing. The content you previously shared will remain and will continue to be viewable by those you originally shared it with. No changes will be made to your account unless you’ve appointed a legacy contact.

What You Can Do

You can designate a legacy contact if you want your account to be managed after you die. This person can accept friend requests, pin a tribute post to the profile, and change the profile picture and cover photo.

You can also choose to have your account permanently deleted when you die. This means that everything associated with the account, including messages, photos, comments, etc. will be permanently deleted.

Facebook Pages

If you’re the sole admin of a Facebook page, Facebook states that it will remove the page from Facebook if they receive a valid memorialization request. If you don’t want that to happen, then you need to plan ahead.

Instagram

If You Do Nothing

If Instagram receives a valid request when you die, they will memorialize your account. Posts you shared will stay on your account and will still be visible to those you originally shared the content with.

Alternatively, an immediate family member can request that your account be removed from Instagram. They’ll have to prove to Instagram that they are in fact an immediate family member if they want to do this.

Currently, Instagram doesn’t offer a way for someone to manage your account for you when you die.

Pinterest

If You Do Nothing

Upon receiving notice of your death from a family member, Pinterest will deactivate your account, and it will no longer be accessible by anyone.

Pinterest currently doesn’t have a way for some to manage your account after you die.

Snapchat

If You Do Nothing

A family member can contact Snapchat, provide them with a copy of your death certificate, and have the account deleted.

Snapchat does not allow you to designate someone to continue the account after you have passed.

Twitter

If You Do Nothing

The person authorized to act on behalf of your estate or a verified immediate family member can contact Twitter and request that your account be deactivated. Twitter will ask for supporting documentation to avoid false or unauthorized reports.

On the other hand, if the account is inactive for six months or longer (i.e., no one has logged in during that period), Twitter may permanently remove the account “due to prolonged inactivity.”

YouTube

If You Do Nothing

Because of YouTube’s affiliation with Google, an immediate family member or representative of your estate can contact Google to close the account and submit a request for funds from your account.

What You Can Do

You can control access to your YouTube account using Google’s Inactive Account Manager, which allows you to designate a person to be contacted if your account has been inactive for a specified period of time. If you have decided to grant the designee access to any of your accounts, they will also be informed of the data you have chosen to share with them. The message will also include a link they can use to download the information.

What Should I Do?

As you can see, the process for what happens to each account when you die varies. Therefore it’s important that your loved ones know what social media accounts you have and what your wishes are for them when you pass away.

You can provide guidance to your loved ones by stating your wishes clearly in your estate plan. We can help. Call Santaella Legal Group, serving San Ramon, Danville, Dublin, Pleasanton & the Tri-Valley area, at (925) 831-4840 to set up a consultation.

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