HOUSTON – What happens to your Facebook page or Twitter account when you die? Because most people haven’t thought about it, the government is urging everyone to draft a “social-media will.”
Disabling your Twitter or Facebook account after you have died may be more difficult than you think.
“It’s a challenge. Facebook makes is very difficult. Google has no customer service, they don’t have a call center at all. It’s really tough to do some things if you don’t have the original access,” said Nate Stockard, a social media consultant with Blue Atlas Marketing.
That is why the government is now urging everyone to draft a social media will. That means naming an executor who has the authority—or at least the passwords—to close your accounts.
Stockard said the recent government suggestion—blogged at USA.gov—is a good idea.
“When you consider the fraud that’s out there, the opportunities for people to take advantage of an account of somebody that’s passed away,” he said.
It’s still very new, but is a social-media will really necessary? Some attorneys say probably not.
“It’s my belief that the executor would have the ability, or the administrator, or whoever the personal representative was, would have the ability to do that anyway,” said Keith Morris.
Morris works in probate law and said he hasn’t received any social-media will requests, but if asked for one, he said he’d draft it.
“That’s most certainly not the most ridiculous request I’ve ever received,” he said.
Still, the policies are not always clear on how to remove an account.
Facebook and Twitter require death certificates. Google can keep your account active—despite your estate’s request.
Without some thinking ahead your likes, dislikes, pictures and posts might be around for a very long time.