What happens when we Die to our Online Accounts

Social networking websites have become quite a permanent feature of our lives these days. More and more people are jumping this bandwagon and sharing their lives, hobbies and interests with friends, colleagues and family online. So one sad day, you lose a loved one and in this age, you are perplexed as what to do with that person’s online social profiles and accounts. It is one of the new age problems facing a family these days on when we die.

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source: Wikipedia

The biggest stumbling block to what happens when we die to our online  accounts, in this case is the login credentials and passwords which may  be kept private by the deceased person.  This makes the accessing and  removal of  these accounts a complicated procedure for the family. If  these accounts are not removed, then they continue to be active online  long after the person’s death.

As this problem begin to dawn on the websites and social networks  owners, they begin to introduce new policies in  helping the deceased  user’s family or caretakers for the removal of accounts when we die.

In this article, we will provide you with a brief overview on removing of accounts for biggest user-driven platforms so you can prepare for what happens when we die situation. You may contact them to get a control of a deceased person’s account and shut it down.

How to access account of a deceased person on Facebook

You get two contrasting option for dealing with a dead dear one’s account.

On one hand, you can convert the dead person’s account into a memorial page. What happens is that Facebook leaves the account untouched but removes the memorial page from being set as active user in Facebook directory. Also, Facebook takes extra care to make sure that the account remains secure and the deceased person’s privacy is intact. You can get the page of your dear one memorialized by filling and submitting a Memorialization request.  A proof of the user’s death must be provided, like a death certificate or a news article etc. so Facebook may investigate before approving the request.

The second choice is to get the account closed. Do note that this request can only be submitted by an immediate family member for Facebook to take action. There is a special request form for this action.

How to access account of a deceased person on Gmail or Google+

Unlike Facebook, getting hold of a deceased one’s account on Google is much tougher. According to Google, it may allow in exceptional and rare circumstances, access to the content of a Google or Gmail account to a trusted person of the dead person. The application review process is thorough in such cases.

In order to file an application, you would require to mail or fax a copy of death certificate of the deceased as proof. You need to fax or mail a list of required documentation to Google, which is a copy of the death certificate of the deceased user for valid proof. Google will then thoroughly review and after taking a decision, inform you by email. You will then be able to move on to the next step as necessary.

In 2013, Google created the “Inactive Account Manager”, a functionality for users to plan a “digital afterlives” of sorts. You can use it to instruct Google on what to do with your digital assets in case of your inactivity for some specific time.

How to access account of a deceased person on Twitter

Twitter has made it abundantly clear that you will not gain access to a deceased person’s account, no matter how close of a relationship you had with them. You can only get the account deactivated provided you are an immediate family member or an authorized individual.

The things you would need for this procedure are: a copy of death certificate, government issued ID card, required username of deceased person and signed statement with other documentation as required. You can contact Twitter support for more info.

You can mail or fax all documents required, so Twitter may verify and then deactivate the account.

How to access account of a deceased person on Pinterest

Pinterest handling of a deceased person’s account is the same as Twitter’s. You cannot gain login access to the deceased person’s account but you can deactivate it.

Send all the required documentation to Pinterest via email or fax. The documents required are death certificate, some article citing the user’s death etc.

How to access account of a deceased person on Instagram

Instagram has declared in its privacy statement to get in contact with Instagram regarding a deceased user. All the communication between the parties will take place through email, regarding account removal.

Like mentioned above for other social networks, you would need to provide proof of death here as well.

How to access account of a deceased person on Yahoo

You will find that, rarely Google might provide access to deceased users account but Yahoo is adamant, that it will never allow such a thing.

You can contact Yahoo regarding the account of the deceased user and that can be done via fax, email or simple mail. You would need to provide a proof that you are an authorized person for acting on deceased person’s behalf, copy of death certificate etc.

How to access account of a deceased person on PayPal

PayPal is online banking service, so naturally the access to a deceased one’s account on it will be a bit more difficult. You would need a state executioner of the deceased person to send required documentation through fax. These include photocopies of cover letters, death certificate, legal documentation etc.

On approval of the request, PayPal closes the account and sends out the check in account holder’s name for any amount left.

Planning Ahead and Taking care of Your digital assets

One thing that you should realize after reading this article is to plan ahead for handling of your digital assets on your passing away. These days, our digital content is as valuable for us as anything else.

Hopefully all your queries regarding what happens when we die to our online accounts have been answered.