Digital accounts

Estate Planning

What Happens to Your Online Accounts When You Die?

May-17 2023

Recent surveys found that we each have an average of dozens of online accounts with multiple passwords - from those we use everyday to those we created as a free trial - but what happens to those accounts after we die varies greatly. Do you know what happens to your digital stuff after you die?

For instance, Facebook allows you to designate a Legacy Contact, which grants access to your account to a trusted person when you’re no longer here.  Similarly, Google has an “Inactive Account Manager” tool that allows you to document your wishes and share your accounts with a trusted individual. But many other platforms fall flat when it comes to handling accounts after death. 

When you create an online account, you essentially enter into a contract. When you die, that contract is often terminated and the company that administers the account maintains control over what happens to it. Some companies take little to no action, which means many accounts never become deleted or deactivated leaving them vulnerable to identity theft and cyber threats.

Clarity is kindness - whether in life or in passing

Additionally, on social media platforms such as Facebook, your friends and family may continue to receive birthday reminders long after you are gone. So if you are still wondering what happens to your online accounts when you die -  the short answer is: nothing!  Many of them remain active, unless you take the necessary steps to assure the right details get to the hands of the right people: your loved ones.

Unless you’ve given clear instructions to your loved ones on how to access your online accounts and what to do with them, they may have a hard time accessing and sorting through them. Think of your subscription-based and financial accounts that may charge you a monthly or yearly fee.  You likely were happy to pay for Netflix when you were around to watch it but after you’re gone that bill will continue to rack up unless otherwise managed. It can take months - or even years - to gain access through probate court, if at all. Among the most valuable things in your digital life are your photos, emails, and other digital memorabilia that you likely want to keep and pass on. 

Planning ahead for what happens to your online accounts after you die is important and GoodTrust can help. The GoodTrust Digital Vault helps you keep track of all your digital assets and make them easily accessible to your loved ones at your discretion. From setting a password manager to adding your online accounts, the GoodTrust team has designed a comprehensive, easy-to-use tool for you to upload your digital valuables and stay worry-free. 

Here are a few steps to get you started: 

Step 1 - Set up a password manager 

Setting up a password manager is important, simple, and can help you get peace of mind. It is a useful tool for now and for later. With a password manager you can create a single robust password that unlocks all your other passwords. When you are no longer here to guide them, your loved ones will be able to easily access all of your online accounts. 

Step 2 - Do a spring cleaning of your online accounts

From your well-loved email account to your one-time-use free-trial accounts, you probably have a lot of online accounts. Take some time to sort through them. Delete the ones you no longer need and upload the important ones to your GoodTrust Digital Vault, keeping them safe and easily accessible for your loved ones when the time comes. 

Step 3 - Assign a Digital Executor and make a list of the accounts that will need handling 

With GoodTrust, you can assign a Digital Executor to manage your digital life after you pass away and leave them a detailed list of the accounts that will need taking care of. We do the hard work of sourcing all types of online accounts from emails to social media, financial to subscription, so you don’t have to. 

Estate planning includes many things, and how to handle your online accounts is one of them. Make it easy for your loved ones and write out your wishes. Get started by clicking here, select a will or trust plan, set up your Digital Vault, and protect what matters with GoodTrust today.