Dealing with as loved one’s physical assets after death is hard enough, but then having to manage the closure or change of that person’s Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, and other accounts can only add to the stress of the process. We can help our clients close such accounts and ensure that the deceased’s data is safely removed from the online world, thereby preventing unwanted identity theft or other malicious actions.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How will I close my deceased parent’s accounts without their usernames and passwords?
It is possible to close certain accounts without a username and password, but it varies from provider to provider.
Do I have to wait until a probate process has begun to obtain my family member’s digital asset information?
Sometimes, but not always. Many sites do require at least a person’s death certificate and your ID at a minimum, but may require more, like a court order or Letters of Administration for Probate. Consult a knowledgeable Elder Law attorney or seek out certain companies who may be able to help with this process.
I am trying to gain access to my deceased Wife’s cloud storage, but they are not allowing me access. How can this be?
Unfortunately, unless your wife gave the Online Service Provider (OSP) prior consent to access that account, both Federal law and the OSP’s terms of service will likely prevent access. Like other assets that are probated, you may be able to provide a court order showing you have legal authority, but that is partly state dependent.
My parents are very wary of writing down their online account information. How can I ensure I’m able to close any online accounts after they’ve passed if they don’t give me the information?
Have a discussion with your parents about their digital assets and determine which ones are a priority to handle upon incapacity or death. Usually any online service that automatically charges a credit card should be shut down or transferred relatively quickly. Any accounts that may house data such as personal documents, e-mail, pictures, or certain financial accounts such as PayPal or bitcoin need to be made known. Your parents also need to visit with a knowledgeable Elder Law attorney to help effectively handle this matter by creating modern Durable Powers of Attorneys, Last Wills, or Trusts that reference digital assets and allow prior consent to be given to the responsible party. At a minimum, a death certificate and your ID will be necessary. A probate of the estate may also be required.
How do I prevent my children from bickering over my estate?
A digital asset may be your online accounts like e-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, twitter, Amazon, Netflix, Dropbox, Google, Apple, an online repository of documents, pictures, or funds such as bitcoin or PayPal. Some of these accounts may include personal data and documents that either need to be passed on or terminated when a person dies. It could also be your Target or Hilton account. The amount of online information we store for ourselves is only growing and attending to these matters when a loved one passes away safeguards people against ID theft and online hacks, ensures there’s no erroneous credit card billing issues for recurring billing on these accounts, and gives families peace of mind that the full spectrum of assets has been attended to and dealt with. Certain companies may be able to help with this process.