Q&A - How will my online accounts be handled when I die?

10/11/2014

Q:    It occurred to me the other day that I am the only person who knows all the information about my social media and online shopping accounts. The shopping accounts in particular are a worry because as time goes on I seem to acquire more and more of them. What will happen to all these accounts when I die?

A:    Online accounts are becoming quite a problem when people die, especially in the case of paperless accounts where shops insist on doing everything digitally and no longer send out hard copy statements. Unless the deceased person has left information appertaining to their online accounts it can be a nightmare for their executors.

We recommend that when you make your Will you also make a list of all your online accounts. As with your Will, this will need to be updated as circumstances change. You should keep the list with your Will but keep passwords separately and make sure your executors know where they are. This will enable your executors to write and cancel the services. Regarding your social media accounts, check with family and friends as to whether or not they still want to be able to see your pages after you die, for example to access your photographs, and then leave clear instructions about what should happen to your online presence. This is important because it is, for example, very difficult for someone else to close down an email account in the name of another.

To sum up, you should make a traditional Will to cover all your physical assets and include instructions for your executors in respect of how you want them to manage your online presence. Keep a safe record of all your accounts and store it with your Will. Instruct a solicitor to act as one of your executors if necessary. 

Victoria Wilson

Victoria Wilson

Partner

A Partner and Part of our Probate, Wills, Trusts and Tax team in Oswestry