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  • Writer's pictureCarole

Digital Legacy: Caring for Online Accounts When a Loved One Passes Away

Tips for managing a deceased loved one's social media accounts


Digital Legacy

In today's digital age, it is important to consider the online presence and digital legacy of a loved one after they have died. Managing their online accounts and social media requires sensitivity and careful attention.


You may or may not have spoken about it, and they may have set up their wishes on platforms, such as Facebook. Other family members need to be taken into consideration, too. They may not wish to have social media accounts removed straight away, as they may find it a comfort to still be able to visit their accounts.


Inform Yourself

Take the time to find out about the various online accounts and social media platforms your loved one used. Compile a list of active accounts, including social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and any other relevant websites or online services they may have used.


Review Their Wishes

If your loved one had discussed their digital legacy or left specific instructions regarding their online presence, review and respect their wishes. They might have expressed preferences about preserving, memorialising, or deleting their accounts. Honouring their wishes will help you make decisions that align with their intentions.


Contact Social Media Platforms

Reach out to the respective social media platforms where your loved one had accounts. Most platforms have procedures in place for handling accounts after the account holder's death. Facebook, for instance, allows family members to request the removal or memorialisation of an account. Follow the platform's guidelines and provide any necessary documentation they need to proceed.


Memorialisation

Consider memorialising your loved one's social media accounts. Platforms like Facebook provide options for creating a memorialised profile that can be viewed by friends and family as a way to honour and remember the deceased. Memorialising an account can also prevent it from being misused or compromised.


Deactivation or Deletion

If you decide to deactivate or delete your loved one's accounts, be aware that the process may vary from platform to platform. Some platforms require proof of death, such as a death certificate, while others may have different requirements. Follow the instructions provided by each platform to ensure the accounts are properly handled.


Preserve Their Digital Legacy

Digital content, such as photos, videos, and posts can hold significant sentimental value. Consider saving and preserving these memories before deactivating or deleting the accounts. You can download photos and videos, save important messages or conversations, or create backups of their social media profiles using dedicated tools or services.


Secure Access and Passwords

If your loved one didn't leave behind instructions for their online accounts and passwords, gaining access may be challenging. Look for any written notes or documents they may have left behind that could contain login information. If necessary, contact the respective platform's support team and provide proof of your relationship to the deceased to request access.


Seek Professional Help

If managing your loved one's digital legacy feels overwhelming or you encounter difficulties, consider seeking professional assistance. There are digital legacy services available, such as www.digitallegacyassociation.org that specialise in handling these matters, providing guidance and support throughout the process.


The process of dealing with digital legacy can throw up lots of emotions. If you need support with this, please reach out. We are here to help you.


About Carole

Carole Henderson

Carole has been helping people with significant emotional loss for over 12 years. Having been drawn to her work after the death of her 41 year old husband - and discovering a lack of anything truly helpful for addressing her profound loss. Find out more about Carole here.

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