It’s a great question nowadays: What happens to my social media when I die? It’s a question none of our ancestors had to deal with, but is now an important part of your estate plan. So, what actually happens to your social media when you die?
Keeping a list of passwords available to a loved one can work, but also has the potential for problems. What if the list goes missing? What if you change a password, but forget to update the list? If the two-factor authentication renders the list pointless, what happens? If you use a major password management service you can authorize access to a person you trust if you die. This service is typically only available to premium users (like LastPass), but other services (like Dashlane) allow you to share a secure note to a trusted person at no cost.
Apple grants access to a legacy contact if you die. You designate the legacy contact in your Apple account under Password & Security, and you can name more than one person. Apple generates an access key that you can send to your legacy contact. Be aware that the legacy contact must have their own Apple account to properly access your account. Whenever you die they just need to provide that access key and a copy of your death certificate to access your account.
Google allows a legacy contact after a certain period of inactivity. You head to myaccount.google.com and click Data & Privacy. From there, click “make a plan for your digital legacy.” You select the amount of inactivity (by number of months) before Google initiates any further action. They also send a reminder 1 month prior to your selected amount of inactivity. After that time has elapsed Google will attempt to contact you via SMS and email before reaching out to your legacy contact. You can choose up to 10 people to notify that your Google account has become inactive and give them access to your data. You can also choose to automatically delete your account after a period of inactivity.
You can name a legacy contact for Facebook by clicking Settings & Privacy and adding them under Memorialization. If you have trouble finding the proper page you can always use the search bar on the Settings page. A legacy contact continues to manage your Facebook page after you die. If you don’t add a legacy contact then nothing on your Facebook page can be changed. You also have the option to delete your Facebook page after you die.
Be certain to discuss with your legacy contacts what you would want done with your digital life after you die. Granting access is only useful if they understand your wishes. You should also share your wishes with your financial planner and estate planning attorney.