What is a Social Media Will?
Just like a regular Will for your physical estate, a social media Will
outlines how you wish your social media accounts will be handled after
you pass away.
Each social platform has slightly different protocols when it comes
to a user’s death (the most common are memorialization or deletion). A
social media Will helps users pre-plan now, so their families aren’t
left wondering what they would have wanted later down the line.
Most People Don’t Even Think About Their Digital Estate
Digital assets (such as social media accounts, email accounts, loyalty points, crypto assets, etc.) are often under-protected and left vulnerable in the estate planning process..
One big reason for this is because we often don’t think of our digital assets as having any financial value. But, digital assets can be worth quite a lot. According to a recent report, the average Canadian accumulates over $10,000 worth of digital assets! Another thing to consider is the sentimental value of digital assets. For example, what will happen to your online photo albums after you’re no longer here?
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snap, Reddit, Medium, or TikTok, these platforms act as an extension of yourself, filled with personal images, conversations, and memories that will live on. And for some, they also represent a revenue stream.
So, how do you want these assets handled after you die? This isn’t a question that’s been top-of-mind. According to a recent survey we ran, over 83% of respondents who use social media have no idea what happens to their accounts after they are no longer here.
Most platforms haven’t developed terms of service or features to allow for pre-planning or managing a person’s account if they become incapacitated or pass away.
The platforms that have, usually provide the following options:
You can turn them into a memorial; or,
You can have them shut down.
To see how service providers stack up against each other, we developed a Social Legacy Scorecard. The scorecard explains how to compare the different social platforms when it comes to legacy and pre-planning tools and features (spoiler alert: nobody scores 5 out of 5.)
The Bottom Line:
The industry has a long way to go. On the one hand there are platforms like Facebook leading the charge with a robust suite of legacy features (with options for individuals to pre-plan and decide now what happens to their account). And on the other hand, a platform like Twitter doesn’t really let you plan for anything at all. Loved ones can only request deactivation after the death or incapacitation of an account holder.
Given the few and wide ranging legacy planning options offered by social media platforms, the best way to protect your digital identity is with a Social Media Will. It’s a central place to document important wishes about how you want your online presence to live on. It also helps facilitate the use of each platform’s pre-planning features when applicable.
At Epilogue, our social media Will is fully digital and interactive. Here's how easy it is to use:
Step 1: Go to our website.
Step 2: Answer a series of guided questions. These will include your country of residence, if you have social media profiles, your wishes for these profiles, etc.
Step 3: Epilogue generates a custom Social Media Will that can be shared with loved ones.
Whether you want your profiles to live on as a memorial for your loved ones after you pass away, or you want them removed from the internet altogether, it’s important to take a pause and consider what you want.
A Social Media Will can also let you do things like:
Craft a final post to be shared after you pass away
Select a specific profile photo to be used for your memorialized accounts
Epilogue’s Social Media Will was built in consultation with Sharon Hartung, one of Canada’s foremost experts in estate planning for digital assets and author of Your Digital Undertaker – Exploring Death in the Digital Age in Canada. And it’s entirely free of charge. What are you waiting for? Make your Social Media Will today and protect your social afterlife.