Whether promoting a business or sharing memories, social media has become an intricate part of most people’s daily lives. After spending hours building an online presence, you may question what happens to these accounts after you pass away.
While the circumstances depend on the platform, most social media companies allow an account to be deleted or memorialized after someone passes. Each social media company has specific rules and policies for deceased accounts, and it is important to understand each when considering your wishes and creating guidelines in your estate plan.
Social Media Platform Policies Related to Death
Social media platform policies relating to death are all unique. In some cases, there may not be a policy regarding a deceased’s account. However, most prominent social media platforms have a post-death policy. Consider how the following three popular platforms handle deceased accounts:
Facebook and Instagram
Because Facebook owns Instagram, both platforms have the same death-related policies. When a person passes away, Facebook and Instagram offer options for family members and friends. A close friend or family member may request the option of memorializing an account, which means the profile will stay on the platform but have a “remembering” badge and will not appear in public searches or friend suggestions. The platforms do not disclose the user’s log-in credentials and protect that information even after the person’s death.
For a family member or friend to delete an account, they must provide proof of authority or proof of the person’s death. Some acceptable documents for proof of authority are a birth certificate (in cases where the deceased is a minor) and a last will and testament. Proof of death must also be provided. Acceptable documents are a copy of the death certificate and an obituary. The data on the provided documents must match the information on the account for the request to be processed.
If you want to ensure your account is deleted or memorialized, you can request these options in your actual Facebook or Instagram account by updating your settings.
LinkedIn requires individuals to be authorized to act on a member’s behalf to memorialize or close an account. If a person does not have such authority, they can only report the person as deceased. Those who have the power to act on behalf of another person must present the following information:
- Member’s full name
- Member’s email address
- Date of passing
- LinkedIn profile URL
- Relationship with member
- Copy of the member’s death certificate
- Legal documents proving your authority to act on the member’s behalf such as Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary issued by the Surrogate’s Court.
When handling social media accounts, there can be many complications for family members and friends. Taking the time to detail your wishes and preferences for your social media accounts in your estate plan prevents disputes and prioritizes your wishes.
Discover Compassionate New York Power of Attorney Lawyers at Fratello Law
Ensuring your online profiles and accounts are handled according to your desires is just as important as your physical assets. Our client-centered Fratello Law attorneys have over 120 years of combined experience navigating New York residents through their estate planning needs. We understand the importance of creating a plan in the event of your passing. Schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our compassionate attorneys by calling (631) 406-5580 or completing our contact form today.