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Online & Social Media Accounts Upon Death

The internet has become the place for social interaction, purchasing and online banking. With all of these online accounts, it raises an important question, what happens to accounts when an individual dies?

Most financial accounts and bank accounts are either closed when the account is closed, or access is granted to the deceased’s executor.

Email accounts are regulated by each service provider’s own policies. For example, Yahoo! Mail does not grant access to anyone, unless it is court ordered. While Gmail and Hotmail will grant access to their email accounts upon proof that you are authorized to access the accounts of the deceased.

Social media also comes with their own regulations. Facebook, for example, does not grant access to a deceased person’s account. But instead has a memorial status for the account of a deceased person. The memorial page can be customized by close relatives upon approval by Facebook, but certain features like joining groups and posting status updates are disabled in this state. Should the family wish to have the page taken down and the account deleted, a copy of the death certificate as well as a request form is required. If you’d like to learn more about how FaceBook handles accounts for deceased individuals, please visit their page directly: http://www.facebook.com/blog.php?post=163091042130.

Twitter assists families in saving a backup of their public Tweets and then closes the deceased person’s account. Basic information such as the deceased’s username and proof of death are required by Twitter. For more on Twitter’s process, please visit their page directly: http://support.twitter.com/articles/87894-how-to-contact-twitter-about-a-deceased-user.

LinkedIn has a “Verification of Death Form” that must be completed, which requires the email address associated with the user’s account. Upon verification of death, LinkedIn will remove the account.

YouTube also has a form that can be used to grant access to a deceased user’s account. They require the account name, death certificate, and a document with power of attorney over the YouTube account. Or if you are the parent of the user, a birth certificate may be supplied in lieu of the power of attorney. It takes approximately thirty days for YouTube to process and validate the documents and grant access.

We have created this blog to help make the process of accessing or closing a deceased family member’s account smoother. If you have any questions regarding other specific online accounts, please comment and we will provide more details for you.

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