What happens to your Facebook account when you pass away?
Many of us now have a Facebook account, or other social media accounts, such as Twitter. However, what will happen to these accounts after you pass away?
The situation is complex, as the majority of these social media sites are in fact not English and therefore fall outside the provisions of English law. The main providers have therefore their own requirements of action that needs to be taken when an account holder passes away.
Facebook rather helpfully “memorialise” your account, leaving your public information in the public domain. The word “Remembering” will appear on your page, and you will no longer be suggested as a friend to those who you are not already connected with. Your family can, however, ask for your page to be removed completely should they wish to do so.
However, once Facebook are aware of your demise, and they memorialise your page, the private messages and other items you have placed behind a privacy wall can no longer be accessed. This can cause distress to family members, who may wish to read these, whilst dealing with the grieving process. But would you actually want them to? Without your password, or access to your emails, your security would not be breached. You therefore need to seriously consider whether leaving your passwords available to your family for use after your demise is something you wish to do.
Twitter holds the view that you as an individual are the owner of your Twitter account. They will not allow access to your account to anyone, even after your death to your executors. The account will therefore be deactivated upon production of the required paperwork.
Access to your online persona after your death is therefore a serious issue that you should consider when making your Will. Here at Bennett Griffin, our specialist advisors are more than happy to guide you when you make your Will. In addition, we are able to provide support and assistance to your executors when dealing with this difficult issue after a loved one has passed away.
Article by Tania Clapham, Associate Solicitor in the Wills and Probate team.
The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be legal advice. Professional advice should always be taken on the application of the law in any particular situation