Death in the digital age

Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy.

Death in the digital age

Social network accounts 


Facebook gives you two options for handling the user account of a deceased person. You may choose to ‘Memorialise’ the account, which will keep the account active in a limited status and only allow friends to view it and post memories or condolences. The other option is to delete the account entirely. 

A forthcoming feature of the website will allow users to select a ‘legacy contact’ who will receive control of an account when its owner passes on. This update will ease the process significantly and give the legacy contact more control over the deceased’s page. 

You can find the online forms for memorialising an account here, and deactivating an account here.


Deactivating a Twitter account requires that you send documentation by mail, and you will need to include the username of the account, a copy of the death certificate, photo ID and a signed statement. 


Email accounts 


The ‘Inactive Account Manager’ is a service that Google offers to allow users to manage their own Google accounts if they pass away. After enabling the service, if your account is inactive for longer than the time period you set (3 – 12 months), your account will either be deleted or the login data will be sent to a nominated person or persons. 

You can find the form for closing a Google account without Inactive Account Manager activated here. You will need a copy of the birth certificate and a scan of your government-issued ID, among other information. 

Outlook, Hotmail, MSN, Live and WindowsLive

By sending a letter or email to Microsoft you will be able to gain access to all of the information in a deceased family member’s email account, including all emails and contacts. Unfortunately, you will need to produce quite a lot of information.

To find out more visit

Visit for more help and how to deal with digital death and its complicated woes.

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    26th Feb 2015
    You should also think about iTunes and similar. You do NOT own the music you have paid for. You just rent it. This means you cannot bequeath your electronic music collection in the way you may have done your records and CDs.

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