Log On After Death

From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, most of our lives are now documented online. But what about our deaths?

Law firms are now recommending that you leave a record of your online passwords in your will. Ignoring the statistics claiming that almost two thirds (61%) of people in the UK don’t have a will, would you really want your grieving relatives to know your Facebook password?

The obvious reason is of course to sort out bank accounts and any online funds; but leaving your digital legacy to your family is more complex than that. Despite knowing that our online life is anything but private (the recent leak of celebrity nudes has proved that) the thought of our parents going through our posthumous inboxes is still somewhat invasive.

But what happens if you don’t leave your password to anyone? A case in 2011 saw Facebook refuse access to the account of a suicide victim to his parents. An obituary can be used to memorialize a page but gaining access is a trickier. Terms and conditions often forbid anyone bar the account holder from logging on, so even including the passwords to your twitter account could cause a dodgy legal situation.

As more people start to access the web (6 out of 10 seniors are now online) and the current population ages, these situations will arise more and more often. Finding a way to preserve (or erase) your online legacy is a pressing matter and one that would make even the most media-addicted among us consider deleting our profiles.


Photo by Facebook.

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