Sorting out social media and online accounts

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Sorting out and online accounts

Click here to view original web page at Sorting out social media and online accounts

Most people have lots of social media and online accounts. The things that they contain (eg photos, statuses, messages) are sometimes called . It can be helpful to think about what you want to happen to these accounts and their contents after you’ve died. You can put plans in place to make things easier for your family members and friends to carry out your wishes.

If you’re not sure how to manage your online accounts, you might like to ask a family member or friend to help you.

On this page:

Decide what to do with each account

For each account that you use online, there will be different options for what you can do. To find out what these are, go to each account and look at the settings, options or terms of service.

You might be able to do different things, such as:

  • Memorialise a social media account, so that your timeline and pictures can be seen by friends, but no one can make changes to it.
  • Download a copy of your data (photos, videos and messages) and keep in a secure place.
  • Deactivate an account so that it isn’t publicly available. In some cases, the information stored with the company may still be accessible should soemone need to access it in the future.
  • Delete an account so that the account and its contents aren’t available to anyone publicly or privately. If you delete an account, all of the information may be permanently deleted.

You might want to think about things like whether you want your friends and family to be able to look at your social media photos or things you’ve posted or whether there are important documents saved in your email folders that people will need access to. You may also want to think about whether there is information on your accounts that you don’t want family or friends to be able to access.

It’s also possible to leave messages or notifications for friends and family after you’ve died. The website MyWishes has more information about this.

Put plans in place for your accounts

Companies have different rules about what happens to your account when you die and whether someone else can have access. It’s a good idea to look at your options for each account and decide what you want to do with it.

You could write down your account details and passwords and leave these with someone you trust. Check with each account before giving someone else your password – someone else may not be able to legally access your account, according to the terms and conditions of the company. Some services allow you to assign someone you trust to have access to some or parts of your account after you die and when your account becomes inactive. You need to check with each company if they provide this option.

You could leave written instructions about what you want to happen with your online accounts. This document is sometimes called a social media Will. It’s different to a normal Will. The Digital Legacy Association has a template that you can use to make a social media Will.

You could choose someone to manage your accounts. The person you ask to do this is sometimes called a ‘social media executor’ or ‘digital executor’. You might choose a friend, family member or your solicitor. You may want to leave instructions about your social media and online accounts in a separate letter rather than in the formal Will. This is because after your death, the Will and its contents may become public information so any login details could be seen by others.

It is possible to add your preferences for your social media accounts to your main Will, which is a legal document. But sometimes the terms of service for the company mean that what you’ve requested to happen isn’t possible. It’s best to check what your options are with each individual company. These might change, which means you’d need to update your Will.

If you’re not sure what to include in your Will, you can ask a solicitor. You can find a solicitor on the Law Society’s websites – see below. You might want to ask whether they are accredited under the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme Protocol (WIQS), as this means that they follow best practice procedures.

What happens to my online banking?

Bank accounts are counted as part of your estate (money, possessions and property). This means that your bank accounts will be managed by the executors of your Will. You don’t need to change your online banking. After you’ve died, your family, friends, or executors of your will need to tell your bank. You may wish to keep an updated list of your online bank accounts in a secure place with your Will so that your executors know which banks to contact after you have died. It may be helpful to keep a paper version to make it easier for your executors to access. Sharing details of your bank accounts may be especially important for ‘online only’ bank accounts and bank accounts that don’t provide regular printed statements.

Check with your bank before giving someone else the log in details for your online banking. If you give someone else the details and the account is accessed without your permission, the bank may refuse to compensate you for any damage.

The Law Society has databases to find contact details of solicitors and regulated law firms:

About this information

This information is not intended to replace any advice from health or social care professionals. We suggest that you consult with a qualified professional about your individual circumstances. Read more about how our information is created and how it’s used.


Most people have lots of social media and online accounts. The things that they contain (eg photos, statuses, messages) are sometimes called digital assets. It can be helpful to think about what you want to happen to these accounts and their contents after you’ve died. You can put plans in place to make things easier for your family members and friends to carry out your wishes.

If you’re not sure how to manage your online accounts, you might like to ask a family member or friend to help you.

On this page:

Decide what to do with each account

For each account that you use online, there will be different options for what you can do. To find out what these are, go to each account and look at the settings, options or terms of service.

You might be able to do different things, such as:

  • Memorialise a social media account, so that your timeline and pictures can be seen by friends, but no one can make changes to it.
  • Download a copy of your data (photos, videos and messages) and keep in a secure place.
  • Deactivate an account so that it isn’t publicly available. In some cases, the information stored with the company may still be accessible should soemone need to access it in the future.
  • Delete an account so that the account and its contents aren't available to anyone publicly or privately. If you delete an account, all of the information may be permanently deleted.

You might want to think about things like whether you want your friends and family to be able to look at your social media photos or things you’ve posted or whether there are important documents saved in your email folders that people will need access to. You may also want to think about whether there is information on your accounts that you don’t want family or friends to be able to access.

It’s also possible to leave messages or notifications for friends and family after you’ve died. The website MyWishes has more information about this.

Put plans in place for your accounts

Companies have different rules about what happens to your account when you die and whether someone else can have access. It’s a good idea to look at your options for each account and decide what you want to do with it.

You could write down your account details and passwords and leave these with someone you trust. Check with each account before giving someone else your password – someone else may not be able to legally access your account, according to the terms and conditions of the company. Some services allow you to assign someone you trust to have access to some or parts of your account after you die and when your account becomes inactive. You need to check with each company if they provide this option.

You could leave written instructions about what you want to happen with your online accounts. This document is sometimes called a social media Will. It’s different to a normal Will. The Digital Legacy Association has a template that you can use to make a social media Will.

You could choose someone to manage your accounts. The person you ask to do this is sometimes called a ‘social media executor’ or ‘digital executor’. You might choose a friend, family member or your solicitor. You may want to leave instructions about your social media and online accounts in a separate letter rather than in the formal Will. This is because after your death, the Will and its contents may become public information so any login details could be seen by others.

It is possible to add your preferences for your social media accounts to your main Will, which is a legal document. But sometimes the terms of service for the company mean that what you’ve requested to happen isn’t possible. It’s best to check what your options are with each individual company. These might change, which means you’d need to update your Will.

If you’re not sure what to include in your Will, you can ask a solicitor. You can find a solicitor on the Law Society’s websites – see below. You might want to ask whether they are accredited under the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme Protocol (WIQS), as this means that they follow best practice procedures.

What happens to my online banking?

Bank accounts are counted as part of your estate (money, possessions and property). This means that your bank accounts will be managed by the executors of your Will. You don’t need to change your online banking. After you’ve died, your family, friends, or executors of your will need to tell your bank. You may wish to keep an updated list of your online bank accounts in a secure place with your Will so that your executors know which banks to contact after you have died. It may be helpful to keep a paper version to make it easier for your executors to access. Sharing details of your bank accounts may be especially important for 'online only' bank accounts and bank accounts that don't provide regular printed statements.

Check with your bank before giving someone else the log in details for your online banking. If you give someone else the details and the account is accessed without your permission, the bank may refuse to compensate you for any damage.

The Law Society has databases to find contact details of solicitors and regulated law firms:

About this information

This information is not intended to replace any advice from health or social care professionals. We suggest that you consult with a qualified professional about your individual circumstances. Read more about how our information is created and how it's used.

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