Will your Facebook profile live longer than you?

As our lives are increasingly digitised, it might be time to think about what happens to our online social, and email accounts after we die.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

It would be rare to find a modern day adult without at least a couple of online assets. Email accounts, social media, shopping, online photo and video storage, digital money, or cryptocurrencies are just some of the assets we accrue whilst online.

Also: Facebook bug exposed private photos of 6.8 million users

Our information stored electronically (either on the cloud, online, or on a device), or domain names and intellectual property, copyrights, and trademarks, etc., could all be left hanging if not administered properly.

In February 2018, Facebook had 2.27 billion active users, and there are over four billion email accounts in the world -- most of them attached to human beings. We now live in a world where our online presence can match your physical presence in every way.

But have you ever considered what happens to your email accounts, social media channels or any of your digitally stored information when you die?

We often think about preparing for our physical passing -- putting money aside for funerals, or arranging life insurance -- but should we now be doing the same for our virtual presence?

UK-based price comparison website Money SuperMarket surveyed 1,000 adults about the next stage of their lives and found that only one in 10 have accounted for all of their online assets.

Nearly half (47 percent) of those surveyed have not accounted for any of their assets at all.

Usually, after a person has died, a family member has the right to manage their assets.

Must read

However, the survey discovered that almost two out of three (62 percent) of adults have never made a will, which means passing this responsibility on can be difficult to arrange. In many cases, it is also unclear if this even extends to online assets at all. 
To be completely sure what happens to your online assets after you die, the best thing to do is plan in advance for any outcome. 

This includes looking in to the policy of each online site and data storage area that contains your information. This will enable your executors to delete or deactivate your account.

Or add a password manager such as LastPass, Zoho, 1Password, or PasswordSafe to your software arsenal -- and entrust someone to delete everything after you have gone.

2018 Gift Guide: Weird but really useful gadgets

Previous and related coverage:

QR codes give access to your memorial after your death

Ghoulish or gratifying? Tasteless or touching? Leaving a message for loved ones after we die is becoming more popular. Your nearest and dearest could now access your memorial by the QR code on your headstone

We will not unfriend our Facebook friends after they die according to new report

We are increasingly using Facebook to share news of a death beyond our immediate circle of family and friends a new survey shows.

Editorial standards