What Happens to Your Social Media Accounts at Your Death?

Are you one of the many Americans who uses social media? Have you ever considered what will happen to your social media accounts when you die? If you have spent time creating, uploading, and sharing content, it is important to be aware of how your accounts are treated after your death and to determine the appropriate steps you may wish to take to preserve or transfer your social media content upon your passing. Let’s look at a few examples.

What happens to your Facebook account after you die?

If You Do Nothing
According to Facebook’s Help Center, they will memorialize your account if a loved one informs them of your passing. Although your account will be memorialized, no changes will be made to it without a legacy contact. However, the content you previously shared will remain and will continue to be viewable by those you originally shared it with.
What You Can Do
If you want your account to continue to be managed, you will need to designate someone as a legacy contact. Facebook states that your legacy contact can write a pinned tribute post for your profile, update your profile picture and cover photo, request the removal of your account, and download a copy of what you’ve shared on Facebook if you have the download feature turned on.
If you choose to have your account permanently deleted when you die, everything associated with the account, including messages, photos, comments, etc., would then be permanently deleted.
Facebook Pages
If you have a Facebook page for your social media endeavor, Facebook states that “[p]ages with a sole admin whose account was memorialized will be removed from Facebook if we receive a valid memorialization request.” Therefore, if you want your page to continue, you should plan ahead.

What happens to your Instagram account after you die?

If You Do Nothing
If, upon your passing, Instagram receives a valid request, 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.
As an alternative, an immediate family member can request that your account be removed from Instagram. To remove an account, Instagram requires proof that the requesting person is an immediate family member.
Instagram has no way for you to designate someone to manage your account at your death.

What happens to your Pinterest account after you die?

If You Do Nothing
After you pass away, a family member can contact Pinterest via their website to inform them of your passing. Upon receiving notice of your death, Pinterest will deactivate your account, and it will no longer be accessible by anyone.
Pinterest currently has no way for you to designate someone to manage the account after your passing.

What happens to your Snapchat account after you die?

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.

What happens to your Twitter account after you die?

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. Supporting documentation must then be provided to help to avoid false or unauthorized reports.
If an account is inactive for six months or longer, Twitter may permanently remove the account “due to prolonged inactivity.”

What happens to your YouTube account after you die?

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 any 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 manager 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.

Next Steps

The process for each social media account is different, so it is important that your loved ones know the accounts you have and what your wishes are for their future after you have passed. By properly providing this information, you can provide guidance to your loved ones and reassurance that your legacy will live on. In Michigan, some specific documents regarding Access to Digital Assets should be part of your estate plan. Contact us today to discuss next steps for protecting you, your accounts, and your loved ones.