It is hard enough to deal with a home filled with a lifetime of possessions! Now add to that the executor’s newest responsibility: their loved one’s digital footprint.
Executors today are facing a relatively new task: managing online accounts, photos, posts and more that comprise an individual’s digital footprint. According to an article in The Catholic Register, “An executor must deal with digital footprint,” taking care of someone’s social media accounts are just the start of what has become a challenging process.
Think about what’s on your digital footprint: your Facebook account has many details of your daily life and personal history. Your email account(s) have your personal and business communications. You also probably do your banking online.
After you’re gone, do you want your heirs looking at virtual territory you that would rather keep private? How will your digital accounts be wrapped up? It's important that you name a digital executor.
In many instances, the person who is handling your estate may not be the person who has the technical aptitude to take care of your digital assets.
Remember that the executor named in your Will has to settle all issues relating to your life. Clearing out your digital footprint is one more task. Be specific with your instructions and keep a list of all the websites and login credentials, so the executor can take action as appropriate.
Speak to someone you trust about your online legacy and tell them “Just so you know, I put my passwords here, this is where I store them, and these are my accounts. Make sure you take care of those.”
Some social media platforms are more helpful than others when it comes to allowing executors to manage or shut down an account. This is not yet a standardized process, and every platform has its own requirements. You’ll definitely need to have a death certificate, which you’ll need to scan or take a photo of so that you can send it—by email, of course.
Reference: Catholic Register (November 6, 2017) “An executor must deal with digital footprint”