The digital footprint of your social media and online presence is pervasive in today's culture. While some people have limited access, almost everyone uses some social media site - whether it is teenagers and younger audiences. parents monitoring their child's online activity or grandparents anxious to stay in touch with their grandchildren or great-grandchildren.
Many people use YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Messenger, or Instagram for personal or business reasons. Others may access Snapchat, WhatsApp, Gaming sites, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Online Dating sites regularly.
Are you aware of all your social media sites?
My guess is that it depends on your online presence or activity. I am confident that you can list at least ten or twelve sites or apps that you visit regularly. But I would guess that you probably interact with at least several dozen more.
Check your phone or tablet. How many icons do you have?
I just counted 72 on mine. I may not use all of them, but at least half I installed. So, I must have used them at some point. If anything happens to me, someone needs to be able to cancel and close these accounts. That person has to know what online sites you use first - whether regularly or occasionally - and what the security/entry codes are.
Some sites/apps may be less important. For example, if you access weather information online, I doubt you are disclosing personal information that should be deleted from your online identity. There may be clues as to where you have been or are thinking of going, but not much else.
However, you certainly don't want to leave personal information that you may have entered on a dating site. Especially if the site charges monthly fees via your debit or credit card!
Here is a list of some of the more common social media sites. While we can't list every site, the following list provides a starting place:
10. Online Dating Services
11. Gaming Sites
12. Chat Rooms
I list email accounts with social media and online presence since your email account - whether it is a business account or a personal account - often serves as your ID connection to other sites. It may be the login information or an important component for closing an account.
I know that half of my problem is remembering which email I used for what service (since I use more than seven email accounts regularly). So remember to list your email accounts on your preplanning document.
So, the easiest way to tackle the problem of shutting down an online presence is to collect a list of social media apps, sites, and emails that a person uses or used.
As we have mentioned previously, it is worth the effort for you to preplan these details for your Executor/Executrix or Person-in-Charge (PIC). We suggest combining all sites and passwords into one printable record or preplanning document (See below for access to our our preplan document, When I Leave You).
While the information may be stored online, remember that someone will need to access the list by smartphone, tablet, computer or app (or easy-to-understand access instructions).
ALSO, while most social media accounts are free, check to see if a debit/credit card is registered for periodic payments (usually in the 'profile' section).
FOR ALL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
PROVIDE CURRENT/UPDATED DETAILS
Access: What email/username to use to LOGIN?
Security: What is the PASSWORD?
HOW MANY are there?
WHAT ARE THEY?
What are the ANSWERS?
Is there an AUTOMATIC RENEWAL?
If so, what debit/credit card or account is linked for PAYMENT?
WHEN are payments DUE?
HOW MUCH will be withdrawn?
Remember that the process of closing many social media sites and disconnecting from an online presence takes time.
Take a breath, and attack the most critical sites first (most active social media and those that are likely to have some fees attached - whether buying badges for an avatar or monthly payments for a dating site).
On some sites, like Facebook, you may want to post a death announcement for friends, and there may be responses. So you may want to delay removing the page for a short period of time.
You are lucky if everything is in one document with current information. Check the browser history and bookmarks to see if something was inadvertently missed.
And remember to take one step at a time. Just one step...
Devices: from phones to home security systems to smart appliances
Apps & Online Activity: from utility accounts to banking & credit cards; from digital news subscriptions to personal medical records Representative examples, but certainly not all:
Again, some examples but not all:
Step-by-step guide to what to do first. Calls, Paperwork, Care Arrangements, etc.
Detailed guide to prepare or fulfill final wishes
Where do you start? Physical remains, funeral options, death certificates, memorial services and more...
Next hurdle - how to handle financial records and accounts
Key reminders on securing residences - owned or rented, apartments or houses - after a loved one's death
Magazine Subscriptions, memberships and more...
Funny, helpful and special stories that others have shard to help you through the process
For each section, dowload and personalize a pdf checklist