Managing Online Accounts after Death

Plan to Protect Digital Information after Your Death

Think of all the various places you have information online—Facebook and other social media accounts; online banking, memberships, Amazon.com and other retail accounts, your e-mail, everything you have in the cloud. What happens to all of that when you die? Who has access and who can get access? How can you prevent your loved ones from getting a computer-generated message from a social media account to wish you a happy birthday…long after your death?

According to legal experts, you want to prepare what is known as a digital will, a document that designates who will have access to and authority over your online accounts and information after your death. Here are the steps necessary to put such protection in place:

  • Identify someone to act as your online executor—An executor has legal authority to act in the best interests of your estate. You should confirm with the person that you want to serve that they are willing and able to be your online executor. You will then want to provide them with usernames and passwords for all online accounts, or make certain they know where those usernames and passwords are stored, and will have access to them in the event of your death.
  • Prepare a written document that names your executor and sets forth how you want accounts to be handled. Specify whether you want accounts deleted, suspended or terminated. Also specify if there will be a time where others can post memorials.
  • Make certain you know the policies of the various sites and service providers.
  • State in your will that your online executor shall be entitled to a copy of your death certificate.

Contact Aronberg, Kouser, Snyder & Lindemann, P. A., Attorneys at Law

At Aronberg, Kouser, Snyder & Lindemann, P. A., we have more than 35 years of experience helping people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 856-429-1700. Your initial consultation is free.

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