Digital presence has become an integral part of our lives. After-all, who here can survive without an email or a social media account. But have you ever given thought to what should happen to your accounts after you die?
Death can happen anytime and it’s never a bad idea to prepare for the worst. Your will may take care of who gets your personal belonging, but what about who gets your Facebook account? Or who’s allowed to access your Gmail data when you pass away?
Here’s what you need to know about how you can leave your accounts in good hands when you die – and what companies will (and will not) reveal to your digital heirs.
Google doesn’t specifically talk about your death, but it lets you add up to 10 individuals who will be notified if your Google accounts – including Gmail, Google Drive and others – have been inactive for a while. Your nominated friends and family members will be able to download data from your accounts for three months.
To utilize this option, you need to log in to your Inactive Account Manager. And then follow the given steps.
◘ Your mobile number, and an optional email address.
◘ Timeout Period, how long Google will wait before declaring your account inactive. Your options are three months, six months, nine months, one year, 15 months, or 18 months.
◘ Up to 10 ‘trusted contacts’ who will be notified if your account becomes inactive for the stated length of time.
◘What type of data you want to share with the contacts.
After you are done with all the given steps, you’ll need to type out an email that will be sent to your contacts when your account expires. This email will automatically include information on how to access your account and data.
Microsoft doesn’t really make owner of the account do anything. It is the family members who need to go through Microsoft’s Next of Kin process in order to gain access to account data. Microsoft will release your account data – including emails, attachments, and your address book – to your next of kin on a DVD.
To start the process, your next of kin will need to email email@example.com and provide documentation that verifies that you are dead and that they are your next of kin, the executor or benefactor of your estate, or someone with power of attorney.
Yahoo doesn’t release any of your data when you die, so if you want your family to be able to access your account you will need to provide them with your login information.
While Yahoo will not share any of your data or account information, the executor of your estate or the next of kin can request to close your account by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org a request letter containing your Yahoo ID, as well as proof of your death.
Facebook also doesn’t release any of your data but it allows you to designate a Legacy Contact who can manage parts of your account. Legacy contacts cannot sign into your account or see any private messages, but they can post on your Timeline, accept/reject new friend requests, and update your profile picture and your header image.
To setup a Legacy Account, go to your Account Settings, and then Security tab. There under the Advance, edit Legacy Contact.
Although, in any unfortunate event, your contact will still need to inform Facebook and submit a memorialization request. Once that’s approved, he or she can do the tasks stated above.
Twitter simply does not allow you to grant anyone access to your account when you die, neither grants access to the data. Though your family members can request to deactivate your account when you pass away.
To request that someone’s account be deactivated, you will need to use Twitter’s privacy form. You will need to provide proof of your relationship to the deceased, including your ID and a copy of their death certificate.
Although Instagram is owned by Facebook, but it doesn’t offer the same options as the Facebook. However, Instagram does memorialize accounts – memorialized accounts cannot be changed or logged into, but they will remain visible and will not appear in Instagram’s public archives.
Your friends and family members will need to contact Instagram about memorializing your account – by using this form. They will need to provide their name and email address, the deceased’s name and Instagram username, and proof of death.