Everything you need to know about what happens to your social networking accounts after you die, and the steps you can take to keep control of them even when you're gone.

Learn How to Plan Your Social Media Exit

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For more information on how to financially protect your loved ones, or at the very least, cover your final expenses so you don’t burden your family, visit the RBC Life Insurance site or speak to an RBC Insurance advisor.

References:
1. https://www.theloop.ca/dead-facebook-users-will-soon-outnumber-the-living/
2. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/social-media-what-happens-when-you-die-instagram-facebook-twitter-gmail-pinterest-a8706126.html
3. https://blogs.systweak.com/2018/03/what-happens-to-your-online-accounts-when-you-die/
4. http://www.thedigitalbeyond.com/2018/02/what-happens-to-your-social-media-accounts-when-you-die-our-2018-update
5. https://mashable.com/2014/06/24/social-media-death/#LhtXYPIAaaq8

Planning Your Digital Exit: Life After Death on Social Media

Planning ahead is always a good idea, even when it comes to your digital assets. Although it may seem trivial or unimportant, making arrangements for your online accounts in the event of your death can protect your data and aid your loved ones in managing your digital inheritance.

  • By the year 2065, living users will be outnumbered by deceased.1
  • Dormant accounts continue to be tagged, receive friend requests and even birthday wishes.1

Some Accounts are Forever

Did you know that many of your social networking accounts will never deactivate unless there is a formal legal request?

Sites that require legal authorization to gain access to, and/or close an account:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Microsoft

Frozen in Time

Facebook and Instagram allow for a social media profile to be memorialized when someone’s passing is reported by a friend or family member. That means that after you’re gone, your account will still be visible as it was before you died, whilst protecting it from being erased or tampered with.2

Forward Thinking

Some proactive sites have begun instituting new policies which help users plan ahead. Personally customized security settings can trigger instructions for your account after an extended period of inactivity.3

Facebook – An appointed “Legacy Contact” can post an archive on your behalf.4

Google – “Inactive Account Feature” lets you choose a trusted contact who can access your account.5

How To Plan Ahead

Not having a plan could leave your digital property vulnerable to tampering, and the risk that your personal and sensitive photos and messages could be shared. The right plan can protect the loved ones you leave behind from the emotional strain of dealing with this kind of exposure.

  1. Designate a legacy or trusted contact wherever possible using a site’s security settings
  2. Authorize a legal Power of Attorney in your will. If you don’t have a will, or need more information about the importance of estate planning, visit: https://www.rbcfinancialplanning.com/estate-planning.html

In addition to getting your digital affairs in order, you’ll want to ensure that your financial ones are too. Whether you have dependents or not, having a will and power of attorney is important to an estate plan and should also include life insurance. For more information on how to financially protect your loved ones, or at the very least, cover your final expenses so you don’t burden your family, visit: https://www.rbcinsurance.com/life-insurance/index.html

References:
1. https://www.theloop.ca/dead-facebook-users-will-soon-outnumber-the-living/
2. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/social-media-what-happens-when-you-die-instagram-facebook-twitter-gmail-pinterest-a8706126.html
3. https://blogs.systweak.com/2018/03/what-happens-to-your-online-accounts-when-you-die/
4. http://www.thedigitalbeyond.com/2018/02/what-happens-to-your-social-media-accounts-when-you-die-our-2018-update
5. https://mashable.com/2014/06/24/social-media-death/#LhtXYPIAaaq8


This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.