Social media wills

Published On: Nov 01 2012 07:13:40 AM EDT

What will happen to your social media pages when you die? Who will control your facebook, Twitter and more? Social media wills are gaining popularity.

It's very likely that if you have a facebook account, you also have someone on your friends list who has passed away.  After they're gone, their page often becomes a memorial. Very rarely does it just disappear. That's likely because no one has their password or access to their page. That's one of the reasons more and more people are appointing social media executors in their will.

The easiest way for you to control what happens to your accounts is to give your password to someone you trust. But if your wishes aren't spelled out, the person with your information can control the accounts as they wish. That's why the government suggests taking a few extra steps.

In January of this year, they started directing Americans to appoint a social media and online executor in their will.  This person is someone who will take charge of your accounts and carry out your wishes for them after you pass away. After you die, an attorney would give your appointed social media executor a list of all your accounts and memberships along with usernames, passwords and instructions of how you want the accounts handled, or if you want them deleted.

With a copy of a death certificate, immediate family can gain access to certain accounts, though some sites won't even grant access with that documentation. In many cases, you can only gain access with the user name and password.

Facebook has a help center posting to tell you how to report a deceased person's page and what needs to be done to memorialize a person and other sites are starting to do the same.

For more instruction from the government on how to appoint a social media executor in your will, click here.

For the form to notify Facebook that a member has died, click here.


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