Social Media: Lasting memory or anxiety for the bereaved?

More than 4 billion people around the world now use social media each month, creating profiles which leave a lasting footprint long after death. The question of what happens at the of someone’s life, when they are no longer able to control their social media profile is becoming a pressing issue. What seems like every millennials’ worst nightmare – losing access to their account – is actually a reality to thousands of people who have lost a loved one as, although 94% of UK residents have online accounts, only 25% of those people have actually planned what will happen with those when they have passed.

Social media accounts

Social media is a way of storing memories digitally. So, when we lose our loved ones, for whatever reason, their social media accounts can become incredibly important. They either become a way for family and friends to keep someone’s memory alive by having constant access to their pictures, posts and videos. Or, if relatives don’t have access to the pages, they can be a lasting reminder of what they’ve lost.

Of course, once the families have access to online passwords and details, it’s their choice as to what they would like to do with them. They may decide to remove the page or create their own memorial. Either way it’s a choice that should be down to those who are affected, but it can be a choice that is easily taken from relatives if the right information is not left behind.

Digital wills

There are many ways in which you can leave behind this personal information, one of them being via a digital will. Digital wills are a relatively new concept and give you the ability to manage what happens to all of your online accounts with just a single document, rather than having to arrange an agreement with each platform individually. It’s a document that details how to access a range of accounts, from photo libraries to online banking. Pretty much every digital aspect of your virtual life can be covered with this single document.

It’s important to note that the digital will exists so this sensitive information doesn’t have to be included in your Last Will and Testament. What many people don’t realise is that when you die, after your family and friends have been informed, your Last Will and Testament becomes a public document. Meaning that this personal information can be accessed by just about anybody.

Planning ahead with your online accounts will not only ease the troubles of loved ones, but it will ensure protection against future hackers that could get hold of this personal information. Giving families a choice will relieve stress, allow them space and time to mourn.

Whilst it’s not immediately obvious, writing a digital will is certainly something that needs to be done to help protect yourself, your friends and your family in the future.

If you require further advice or need family law representation, get in touch with Lysander Law.