Something that we will need to address more and more as we deal with loss is needing to close out social media and other online presences for our lost loved ones. But why should you even care to close out a family member’s social media account? To secure their identity.

I harp on this a lot, but any accounts that you leave open for your loved one can be dangerous because it leaves their identity vulnerable. We talk about the importance of passwords in this blog post, but let’s say your dad had the same password for Facebook that he had for his bank, email, etc., if a hacker gets his password for Facebook then that hacker could possibly wreak havoc on all other accounts with that same password. This is a mess you do not need.

The safest thing to do is to at least archive or shut down some of the bigger online accounts in your lost loved one’s name. Each social media channel has its own way of doing this and we share the process for the most common social media channels below. Typically, you will need things like your loved one’s username or link to the account as well as a copy of a death certificate or obituary for each request.

(Click each link to be directed to the archiving/shut down process)

  • Facebook-with Facebook you have two options: You can either memorialize the account or remove it completely. Memorializing allows the profile to stay up along with the pictures of your loved one but does not allow anyone to log into the account. Facebook will also allow you to assign a legacy contact who can access your account, if anything were to happen to you.
  • Twitter– Twitter will allow you to close out a deceased loved one’s account by following their process.
  • Instagram– Instagram, like Facebook, also allows you to memorialize or remove the account.
  • LinkedIn LinkedIn removes the account by following their process.
  • Pinterest– Pinterest will close the account by following their process.
  • Google Account (Gmail, Photos) I caution on shutting down email accounts before you are certain you have all the information you need regarding your loved one’s accounts and other important information. Many people also forget about things like google photos, docs, etc. which are linked to a google account, and you will need to follow their process to request access to your loved one’s google assets. And, once you have shut down the google account of a loved one, all associated content is closed down as well. Google also has a feature called “inactive account user” that can be assigned to a family member in the event anything were to happen to you, which makes gaining access to google asset after your loved one passes much more seamless.
  • Paypal-Paypal is not necessarily a social media account, but does have to do with online presence. Your lost loved one may have a balance left on their paypal account and you will need to follow Paypal’s lengthier process to access the funds.

The good news is that Sunny Care Services can take on these tasks as well as the many other tasks related to closing out your lost loved one’s life. Contact us to learn more at mollie@sunnycareservices.com

As always, Sunny Care Services recommends you seek out legal counsel before taking action on any estate-related activities.