LinkedIn is developing a “memorialization” option for your profile after a person dies according to the Wall Street Journal. It’s the latest move by a social media giant to deal with what happens to someone’s profile after they die. The move also highlights the importance of planning for your digital assets in your estate plan. Many of my clients prepare a plan for where they store their online account information. But have you also considered what happens to your social media accounts?

What Happens to My Accounts?

Most of the social media platforms will delete a user’s account when they are notified that the user has died. But the Wall Street Journal also points out that many times, relatives want to hang on to the profiles. So, what doe the various apps do?

  • LinkedIn – preparing its profile memorialization option, which should be available in 2020;
  • Facebook – allows you to designate a digital “heir” to manage an account after you’re gone. You can also choose to have your account deleted after you die;
  • Instagram – since they are owned by Facebook, they have similar policies. Your photos and videos remain visible, but they won’t appear in general searches anymore;
  • Twitter – will delete an account upon a family member’s request;
  • Snapchat – anyone can request to remove the account with proof the user has died.

According to LinkedIn, their memorialization option is being launched after “extensive customer requests.” According to the Wall Street Journal,

While some users see the heritage profiles as sad reminders of dead friends and colleagues, others regard them as opportunities for closure and paying their respects.

Just like any other aspect of your will, your social media profiles are unique to you. If you have a specific idea of what you want to happen with your accounts, now is the time to implement it.

Next Steps

Now is a good time to look at your social media profiles and how you are storing your important information. If you’d like a copy of the My Personal Planning Essentials checklist used by my clients with their estate plan envelopes, click here and I’ll be glad to share a .pdf with you.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.