Skip links

In This Article:

Take control of your digital security

How to plan your digital life for after you die

Shares This:
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Ever thought about what happens to all your online stuff once you’re not here to post, like, or tweet anymore? It’s kind of weird to think about, but our digital lives continue to buzz even when we’re gone. Let’s dive into what happens with services like Gmail and social media giants like Facebook, Snapchat, and other important stuff after we take our last selfie.

Email Accounts:

Starting with something as everyday as our email accounts, specifically Gmail, there’s a pretty thoughtful setup in place. Google isn’t just going to let your account float in the digital ether forever. They’ve got this thing called Inactive Account Manager, which sounds a bit bureaucratic but is actually super helpful. It lets you decide what happens to your account after you’ve stopped logging in. Whether it’s passing important info to a loved one or saying, “Just delete it all,” Google’s got you covered.

Social Media:

Now, onto the social media scene. Facebook and Instagram have this option to memorialize accounts. It’s a way to freeze your profile in time, turning it into a space where friends can reminisce with posts and photos but can’t log in or mess with the account. Facebook even lets you pick a ‘legacy contact’ to look after your memorialized profile. As for Snapchat and TikTok, they’re a bit more straightforward. If you stop using them, they might eventually delete your account due to inactivity, or your family can request to have it removed.

Digging deeper into our digital legacies, it’s not just about social profiles and email accounts. Think about the stuff that’s like the invisible backbone of our online lives—password managers, important documents, and all those bits and pieces we rarely talk about but absolutely can’t live without. Let’s unpack these a bit.

Password Managers:

Password managers are where we stash the keys to pretty much everything online. But when we’re no longer here, accessing these keys can become a real puzzle for our loved ones. Some password managers offer emergency access features, allowing you to designate someone who can request access to your vault in case something happens to you. It’s a neat way to ensure that your digital treasures aren’t locked away forever.

Important Documents:

We’re also talking about important documents that live on our computers or cloud storage—things like wills, insurance info, or that novel you’ve been working on. Think about creating a digital will or an instruction file that tells your loved ones where to find these documents and what to do with them. It’s like leaving a map that guides them through your digital world.

And Then Some…

But what about the rest? The online shopping accounts, the subscription services, the digital library full of books and movies? Each of these represents a piece of you, a choice you made, a preference you had. Deciding what happens to these might require a bit more thought. You could leave instructions on what to keep, what to cancel, and what to pass on. Maybe your best friend would love access to your curated playlist collection, or your sibling could really use that design software you subscribed to.

Why Even Think About This?

So, why bother planning for what happens to our online selves? Well, it’s about keeping our digital house in order, just like we do with everything else that matters to us. Whether it’s photos that bring back memories, important emails, or just your epic tweet history, these bits of our digital lives mean something to the people we care about.

Tying It All Together

In a way, managing our digital afterlife lets us have a say in how we’re remembered online. It’s about making things a tad easier for our loved ones while ensuring our digital selves reflect what we really care about. So, while it might feel a bit morbid to plan for what happens online after we’re gone, it’s actually a meaningful step in taking care of our digital legacies.

Here is what can you do while you are still here

  1. Inventory Your Digital Assets:
    • List all your online accounts, including social media, email, online banking, shopping, and any websites or blogs you manage.
    • Don’t forget about digital files that may be important, such as photos, videos, and documents stored in the cloud or on your devices.
    • Include your subscriptions and any digital assets like cryptocurrencies or NFTs.
  2. Decide on the Fate of Each Asset:
    • Determine what you want to happen to each account or asset. For example, do you want your social media profiles memorialized or deleted? Who should get access to your online banking or shopping accounts?
  3. Check Platform Policies:
    • Research each platform’s policy for handling accounts after the owner’s death. This will guide you on what’s possible and how to set things up in advance.
  4. Choose a Digital Executor:
    • Pick a trusted individual to execute your digital estate plan. This can be a family member, a close friend, or even a legal executor. Make sure they are willing and able to handle this responsibility.
  5. Provide Access to Your Digital Executor:
    • Securely share access to your digital assets with your chosen executor. This could involve sharing passwords directly, using a password manager with emergency access features, or storing them in a secure location like a safe deposit box.
    • Clearly outline instructions for each account or asset.
  6. Legalize Your Digital Estate Plan:
    • Consider making your digital estate plan part of your will or estate planning documents. Consult with a legal professional to ensure it’s done correctly and legally binding.
  7. Keep It Updated:
    • Regularly review and update your digital estate plan as you create new accounts or change your wishes for existing ones. Make sure your digital executor is always aware of any changes.

Thank you for reading!

Shares This:

Leave a comment

Related Articles