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Estate Planning

Top 3 Steps on Your Digital Death To-Do List

Aug-18 2020

This article is provided by GoodTrust - your trusted digital legacy advisor. Learn more about GoodTrust here.

The death of a loved one can be a confusing and frustrating time, so it’s more important than ever that you’re prepared for what’s to come. Here’s some helpful tips on where you should start, in managing your digital legacy or that of your loved one’s. To plan ahead with securing social media accounts just click here.

1.  Organize the Important Documents

Very little can be done if no one has access to important documents such as death certificate, obituary, Power of Attorney, proof of identity, etc. So we recommend as soon as possible that you and your family know who will be responsible for the remaining obligations of your loved one after death.

Here’s a list of documents and information you should have copies of on hand before you begin the process of managing digital assets. We also recommend that you store these documents both physically and electronically as different sites have different requirements. 

  • Death Certificate

  • Obituary

  • ID or Driver’s License

  • Power of Attorney/Court Order (Commonly if you are not part of the immediate family or do not share the same name as the deceased, you will need some formal document to prove you have the power to act on behalf of the person)

2.  Memorialize Facebook (if applicable)

Don’t leave friends and family in the dark. Your next step should be to focus on sites in which your loved one connected with distant friends and family members that may not be close enough to the family to have heard the news of their passing. The reason we specifically focus on Facebook is because 7 out of 10 adults are still active on Facebook and the average user has more than 150 friends and family they interact with.

Facebook is also one of the only social media sites that allow you to memorialize an account. This means that instead of deleting the account and possibly losing hundreds of memories and photos living within the platform you can instead freeze the account to where all photos and posts are preserved but the account can no longer be logged into and the account doesn’t appear in public pages anymore.

This alerts anyone that comes across the page that this person is no longer with us, and protects the account against identity theft. The only other site we know of that has this function is Instagram.  

If you’d like to know how to memorialize Facebook for a loved one, refer to our article on Facebook here. Get started today!

3.  List Out Accounts to Take Down

Managing someone’s digital life is a tedious task that takes time, patience and planning. If you’d like to see how GoodTrust can guide you through this process, click here

If you’re going at it solo though, planning and organization is key. We recommend first listing out all accounts that your loved one had, placing emphasis on ones that (1) are still charging money for a service and (2) have a large audience your loved one may have been active within (i.e. social media). After listing out these accounts, make a list of each document or piece of information that these sites require in order to shut down, memorialize or stop billing charges quickly and efficiently.  

Remember, GoodTrust is always here to help you in any way we can, through these difficult times. We hope you found this article helpful in taking those first few steps in managing digital assets. If you're interested in learning more about actions you can take today to protect your digital legacy, check out our "What is Digital Legacy?" article here.