Dy­ing has an ef­fect on so­cial me­dia too

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

hap­pens to your on­line pro­file when you die?

What hap­pens to an on­line pro­file is in­creas­ingly an im­por­tant part of ad­min­is­ter­ing a per­son’s es­tate, as well as when draft­ing a new will or en­dur­ing power of at­tor­ney.

It is im­por­tant to con­sider what should hap­pen to your on­line pro­file when you die.

This may in­clude your Face­book ac­count, Twit­ter, LinkedIn, var­i­ous email ac­counts, web pages, Ap­ple or Google ac­counts and any pur­chases made.

The providers of th­ese ser­vices have dif­fer­ent re­quire­ments around re­leas­ing in­for­ma­tion or tak­ing any ac­tion on some­one else’s ac­count.

In some sit­u­a­tions, the terms and con­di­tions will vary de­pend­ing on what the ac­coun­tholder has agreed to.

It is help­ful to ap­pre­ci­ate what is in­volved so that you can plan to ei­ther en­able some­one trusted to be able to ac­cess the ac­count/s where pos­si­ble, or to spec­ify the ac­counts you have and what you want to hap­pen to the dig­i­tal part of your es­tate.

Some of the cur­rent poli­cies we are aware of in­clude: Face­book. Broadly there are two op­tions. First, it is Face­book’s pol­icy to memo­ri­alise the ac­count.

That means the ac­count is se­cured so no-one can log in and no new friends can be ac­cepted.

Mes­sages can be sent to the ac­count and con­tent shared by the de­ceased per­son is vis­i­ble.

Sec­ond is to re­quest the re­moval of the ac­count.

This re­quires a copy of the death cer­tifi­cate and would nor­mally be re­quested by the ex­ecu­tor of the per­son’s es­tate or an im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­ber. Twit­ter. Will de­ac­ti­vate an ac­count on the re­quest of the ex­ecu­tor or an im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­ber, but they need a copy of the death cer­tifi­cate and other sup­port­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion. Google. Has a fea­ture called in­ac­tive ac­count man­ager that en­ables users to de­cide what should hap­pen to their ac­count after a cer­tain pe­riod of in­ac­tiv­ity.

That means that after a nom­i­nated pe­riod – say six months of in­ac­tiv­ity – the ac­count will be deleted.

It is dif­fi­cult to ac­cess the con­tents of a de­ceased user’s ac­count. For Google ac­counts, this is a very rig­or­ous process that can in­clude ob­tain­ing a court or­der to re­lease the in­for­ma­tion. Hot­mail. Al­lows re­lease of the con­tent of an ac­count to the next of kin of a de­ceased or in­ca­pac­i­tated ac­count-holder, and/or clo­sure of an ac­count.

That process re­quires proof. In the case of in­ca­pac­ity, proof of in­ca­pac­ity and a copy of the power of at­tor­ney is re­quired.

Cer­tain in­for­ma­tion about the ac­count should be known, such as the email ad­dress and the name used to cre­ate it, an ap­prox­i­mate time it was cre­ated and when it was last ac­cessed. Ya­hoo. Does not en­able ac­count con­tent to be trans­fer­able, even when an ac­count- holder is de­ceased.

It has a sim­i­lar process to oth­ers for clos­ing an ac­count, in­clud­ing proof of death, that the per­son re­quest­ing is the ex­ecu­tor and the Ya­hoo ID. LinkedIn. By con­trast, LinkedIn does not re­quire for­mal doc­u­men­ta­tion.

That is be­cause, un­like the other ex­am­ples, a LinkedIn pro­file is used to ex­pand a per­son’s pro­fes­sional pro­file, rather than an ex­change of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion with fam­ily and friends.

LinkedIn sim­ply re­quires that an in­di­vid­ual who knew the de­ceased fill out a form re­quest­ing the re­moval of the de­ceased’s pro­file. Ap­ple iTunes and ac­count. Will de­pend upon the ver­sion of the terms and con­di­tions the de­ceased per­son has agreed to. Th­ese are up­dated from time to time.

Deal­ing with all on­line ac­counts is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing an im­por­tant part of ad­min­is­ter­ing an es­tate.

It is now part of the wind­ing up of a per­son’s af­fairs, and should be dis­cussed with your lawyer when mak­ing a will and en­dur­ing power of at­tor­ney to en­sure that your wishes are known and made clear to your loved ones, at­tor­ney and/ or ex­ecu­tor.

Col­umn cour­tesy of Rainey Collins Lawyers, phone 0800 73 34 84. If you have an in­quiry, email Alan on aknowsley@rain­ey­collins.co.nz.

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