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Handling Your Loved One’s Digital Estate

Settling someone’s estate can be a long and emotional process, even if they leave a will. There are people and places to notify, accounts to close, possessions to sort through, etc. In the past, that was enough to deal with on its own. Today, however, you need to consider digital property as well.

Most people have not made a digital will or included instructions for their digital assets. And most of the time, their predecessors do nothing with them because they’re not sure what to do or how to do it. If you’re stuck in that sort of situation, check out these suggestions for the most common digital accounts.


Currently, Amazon does not have any process related explicitly to closing an account in the event the user dies. You’ll need to look at their account closure policies and contact them to figure out what to do.


Apple makes it much more manageable. Contact Apple Support and provide your loved ones Apple ID, email address, and a copy of the death certificate. They’ll do the rest.


To close or memorialize someone’s Facebook account, you’ll need to fill out their special request form. Facebook may also ask you for copies of their birth and death certificates as well as proof that you’re allowed to represent them in legal matters.

Memorialized Facebook accounts shared content remains visible according to their privacy settings, and friends can continue to share memories. To be proactive, you can appoint a legacy contact to manage your account in the event you become unable to do so.


Google also has an easy to use form. You will need to provide some legal documents like a death certificate and proof that you’re legally allowed to submit this request on their behalf. If you’re feeling proactive, fill out the Inactive account manager info to save some steps for your loved ones.


Facebook owns Instagram, so it’s no surprise that both removing and memorializing the account are available. Memorialized accounts are visible based on the privacy settings, but no one can log in, and posts are not in public spaces such as “explore.”


To delete a deceased person’s LinkedIn account, fill out their online form and include the LinkedIn profile URL, date of death, a link to their obituary, their most recent employment, email address(es), and any other information you think might be helpful.


Currently, Snapchat’s privacy policies do not allow them to grant access to the account. They can delete the account for you if you provide them with a copy of the death certificate.


To close your loved one’s Twitter account, start here. Twitter will email you further instructions. Be aware that you’ll be asked to provide information about them, a copy of your ID and a copy of their death certificate. Twitter states they will only work with verified immediate family members, not those authorized on their behalf, and will not grant anyone access to accounts.


Yahoo still uses snail mail for this process. To close someone’s Yahoo account, mail a copy of their user ID, a document appointing you their legal representative, and their death certificate to:

Concierge Executive Escalations
Yahoo Inc.
5250 NE Elam Young Parkway
Hillsboro, OR 07124

Be aware that Yahoo also owns Flickr and Tumblr. It’s not clear if you’ll need to submit separate requests for those accounts. But you can contact Flickr and Tumblr through their easy online/email support and double-check.


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