What happens to my social media accounts when I die?

Posted: Wednesday, 12 April 2017

What happens to my social media accounts when I die?

In the past, we had photo albums, diaries or letters to convey our personal legacy. Social media has now digitalised all these types of communication.

Most people understand the importance of leaving a Will to ensure their physical possessions are passed on to people of their choosing. However, many people do not consider what information they have created online.

Digital legacy is still a relatively new concept. There is no standard practice across social media platforms and few solutions as to how to retrieve digital information of loved ones who have passed away. As technological advances occur so rapidly, the law is often slow to keep up. If these things are not taken into consideration it could mean a difficult task for family members should they try to collect information such as important emails or treasured family photos.

Palliative Care Australia has prepared a ‘Guide to a social media afterlife', which gives specific guidance on how to download your data from social media platforms and deactivate accounts.

http://palliativecare.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/PCA001_Social-Media-Guide_FINAL.pdf'

The bottom line is, we need to pay attention to the service agreements we enter into. When we put our digital assets on virtual sites, we cannot assume, just because the files may be readily available online, executors or family members will be able to access them. Rights of access will be defined by the terms we have agreed to with the provider of that account.

To discuss preparing an estate plan or Will and including provisions for your digital legacy, please call 1800 068 784 or Click here to enquire about an appointment today.