When a loved one dies, there are a lot of details to arrange and decisions to make. At Simpson Funeral and Cremation Services, our compassionate team supports our neighbors in Monaca and Rochester during this difficult time. In our digital era, we get a lot of questions about social media accounts and what to do with them after a family member’s death.
Some people arrange a digital will or register to provide clear instructions to their family and friends regarding their online accounts. This additional document tends to be kept with a lawyer alongside a traditional will. Some people add legacy contacts to their social media accounts to leave no doubt about who has the authority to handle them when they die. If you never discussed the closing of social media accounts with your loved one while they were alive, you may have no idea how to handle their digital legacy now that they are gone.
(Note: For the sake of this post, we’ll stick to the three most popular social media sites: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.)
Here’s what happens to social media accounts when a loved one dies:
With Instagram, you have two options for handling your loved one’s account: You can contact the company to have their account removed or memorialized. Once Instagram receives your request, their account will be secured, and other users will be unable to reference, message, or tag it. To remove their account, you will need to provide a death or birth certificate or legal proof that you are their lawful representative.
In the event of a death, you may contact Twitter on the behalf of your loved one to arrange to have their account deactivated. Twitter will then contact you via email with instructions on how to proceed with the deactivation. You will need to provide a copy of your ID, a copy of the death certificate, and additional information about your loved one to verify your relationship with them.
To close the Facebook account of a loved one, you can easily submit a request form to memorialize your loved one’s account. No one can hack into a memorialized account, and their profile will not show up in ads or alerts to friends and other users. If you’d prefer to delete their account, you’ll need to provide further proof of your loved one’s death and your relationship with them.
Keep in mind that if you plan to contact these social media sites to deactivate or memorialize your loved one’s accounts, the wait time may be longer than usual due to COVID-19. If you still have questions about planning a funeral or memorial service, feel free to contact our team anytime you need.