What Happens to My Email and Facebook Accounts When I Die?
Your digital life is an important part of how the executor of your will manage your affairs after you die. Every company (like Facebook and Gmail) has different rules about how to handle digital accounts for the deceased. Technically, only you should log into your digital accounts (like email). So once you die, your executor needs to contact each company for how to close out the accounts.
Keeping a list of passwords so the executor can log in might seem easy. But passwords change. And keeping a spreadsheet of updated passwords for all of your various accounts is a lofty goal. Over the course of a decade or two, you could acquire a half-a-dozen different digital accounts — Facebook, Gmail, Dropbox, etc. (And again, it’s against the company’s policy for the executor to use your passwords.)
The best plan is to ask that your executor will handle your digital accounts in the same manner as he or she will handle the financial accounts. The executor of your estate shouldn’t be logging into your on-line bank account or your email account. As the executor, he or she should go through proper channels to access that personal information.
But, one questions remains: How will your executor know what bank accounts and digital accounts need attention?
The answer is relatively simple. After you and your lawyer prepare a thorough estate plan, keep a simple list (paper is fine) of your important accounts – including all banking, social media, and email accounts. Staple the list to your copy of your will and update it as your add bank accounts or email accounts.
Sometimes, the simple answer is the best.