Writing a Social Media Will
by: Craig Collins-Young
Does your will include instructions about your various social media accounts? Chances are, the answer is “no.” But if you’re an avid user of sites like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, you may want to check out the U.S. government’s guidelines for creating a social media will.
For many of us, it makes sense to starting thinking about and planning out:
What happens to all my content: photos, blogs, etc.
Who handles shutting down my email accounts.
What becomes of my social media profiles (does my timeline note my expiration?).
As a 30-something user of many social sites, I can honestly say that before today, I hadn’t considered the idea of such a thing. Though, it does make sense.
I’ve created a lot of content so far, and I’m likely to create a lot more in the future.
Well, in order to prevent my content and my accounts from floating endlessly in the ether of the Internet, the government suggests appointing a trustworthy person as your online executor. This person will be able to act on my behalf to transition and/or close accounts and sites.
How do I Write a Social Media Will?
In How and Why You Should Write a Social Media Will, USA.gov suggests the following steps:
Review the privacy policies and the terms and conditions of each website where you have a presence.
State how you would like your profiles to be handled. You may want to completely cancel your profile or keep it up for friends and family to visit. Some sites allow users to create a memorial profile where other users can still see your profile but can’t post anything new.
Give the social media executor a document that lists all the websites where you have a profile, along with your usernames and passwords.
Stipulate in your will that the online executor should have a copy of your death certificate. The online executor may need this as proof in order for websites to take any actions on your behalf.
Social Media Will: Resources and Such
So, here is what I’ve come up with to help you learn more about and then create a social media will. The listing is by no means all-encompassing, and it is not meant in any way to be considered legal advice. The following is simply a list of things I think you may find helpful:
Social Media Site Policies
- Facebook: Deactivating, Deleting and Memorializing Accounts
- LinkedIn: Verification of Death – Deceased Member
- Gmail: Accessing a deceased person’s mail
- Windows Live/Hotmail
- Yahoo!: Will not provide access, citing the No Right of Survivorship and Non-Transferability clause in the Yahoo! terms of service
- If I Die: Facebook app that allows your to leave behind a letter or video.
- PlannedDeparture: Provides a safe and secure electronic vault to manage and transfer digital assets if you become critically ill or die.
- DeadSocial: Allows you to post content from your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts at defined intervals or on certain important dates or anniversaries.
Articles on the Social Media Will