Twitter recently announced it would begin culling inactive accounts and freeing up the usernames for other members. This has been a feature that Twitter users have been asking Twitter to roll out for years.
One thing, however, that Twitter didn’t take into account is how to handle accounts of people who have passed away.
A lot can be said about this, namely that Twitter (and a lot of companies) don’t do enough user research while building their products and features, but that’s a topic for another day.
This is a problem not only on Twitter but for many different kinds of online and personal accounts. This is why people need a “digital will”.
What is a Digital Will?
A digital will is, much like a regular will, is a document that tells your family how to handle your online life and accounts.
I know, this all seems silly, but it is the reality we live in.
I like to extend the digital will beyond social accounts to everything digital – any portal that a loved one may need access to in the event that you pass away or are incapacitated.
What is the Importance of a Digital Will?
Having a way for a trusted friend or family member to access your accounts in the event that you can’t anymore, whether by death or severe illness or accident makes it easier for that person or estate executor to access your belongings and assets.
In addition to just having access to your accounts, your executor can put up a final post, telling your followers what has happened to you.
I’ve been online since high school, and over time have moved from community to community, sometimes staying in touch with people, sometimes not. Sometimes, people pass away and you may never hear about it, which is unfortunate.
Creating a Digital Will
1Password is a password manager that enables you to create an endless number of logins, store credit cards, identification cards, and so much more.
I strongly recommend using 1Password for all password security needs, and following the 1Password documentation from their support site.
Using the family plan on 1Password makes this even easier as you can share vaults with people in your family. I have shared vaults with my wife and mother for this very reason. It even makes sharing household accounts like banking, mortgage, utilities, etc. even easier.
The bottom line, is you need someway, preferably an extremely secure way, to share the logins and passwords to your most important accounts with your trusted person. This list should, at the bare minimum, should include:
- Primary and secondary email addresses
- This will allow your executor to password reset any accounts that you may have left off or make it easier to execute your will
- Access to banks and financial institutions
- This is probably the biggest one to include, especially if you don’t have a second person on your accounts
- Access and instructions on what to do with your social accounts, whether that is to shut them down, memorialize them, or whatever.
- Facebook provides documentation here on how to request a memorialization of a page.
Much like wills, this is a disturbing thing to think about and discuss with your loved ones, but having that discussion and creating the documents for them makes it much easier for those loved ones after you are gone.