Tech Tip: Final Planning

One reality we all must face eventually is death. Digital assets and social media presence require some attention and special care when the end comes. This topic is not easy to discuss, but it deserves some awareness. As with traditional preplanning, the living can take steps to ensure an easier process for their successors. For digital assets and social media, the key account setting to preplan is called a legacy contact.

A legacy contact is a person or account you designate to have limited access to your account upon your death. Facebook, Google, Apple, and some password managers (including Keeper) have a legacy contact setting you can configure and change. Gaining access to a deceased person’s account that doesn’t have a legacy contact configured may require legal notice from a court or a person with whom the deceased has shared his or her current password.

Alternatively, some services can automatically destroy an account upon the person’s death instead of granting access to anyone or leaving it open. Many services will deactivate accounts after a period of inactivity, assuming the account hasn’t been memorialized by a legacy contact, typically after 1-2 years. Every service is different, and like many things in the technology world, new options always become available. It’s important to check your legacy settings of key services periodically, so your digital footprint is preserved (or not preserved) as you would wish.

Some services where you can preplan and name a legacy contact:

If you need to report the death of someone who hasn’t preplanned successfully (or if the service doesn’t support preplanning), here are some helpful starting points:

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