What happens to my digital media like pictures and profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter after I die?

It depends. Different companies have different policies regarding what happens to a person’s online presence after they die. For example, Facebook’s policies frequently change, but currently if Facebook is notified of a person’s death, the company presents the family of the deceased person with two options. The family can either close the account (which would mean losing all the pictures and other digital memorabilia) or turn that page into a memorial page. The executor of a will does not have access to your digital media under any of the companies’ policies at this time.  

Some companies suggest making digital or hard copies of photos or other memorabilia associated with your accounts in order to ensure that treasured memories will not be lost upon your death. Another suggestion is to create a list of passwords for your accounts and give that list to a very trusted source who you give permission to access your accounts upon your death. Please note however, that the second option creates a potential for abuse of that information. 

For more information, see: www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/info-2014/protect-personal-online-data.html (last visited Jun 4, 2015).