Your Digital Life when you die

What happens to it?

Policies surrounding death vary among some of the internet’s most prominent companies:

  • Twitter will deactivate an account upon the request of an estate executor or a verified immediate family member once a copy of a death certificate and other pertinent information is provided.
  • Facebook has two options. First, the site enables profiles to be turned into memorials. The account is locked, but other users can still interact with the deceased’s profile by posting comments, photos and links.  The other option is to remove the account, upon special request by an immediate family member or executor.
  • Google has recently established a new feature called “inactive account manager,” which prompts users to decide the fate of their accounts should they die. If the account user does not make a selection, Google’s policies are pretty strict. It warns survivors that obtaining access to a deceased person’s email account will be possible only “in rare cases.”

Wading through different policies for every account can be difficult, especially since most people do not designate someone to take care of their digital accounts in case of death. The issue is further complicated depending on the state.  Along with Virginiasix other states have laws governing access to the digital assets of the deceased – Connecticut,Rhode IslandIndianaOklahomaIdaho and Nevada.