What happens to your social media when you die? What about Gmail? who gets funds in a Paypal, Skype or gaming account? Do you have a blog? Ebay or Amazon Account? Precious photos kept on Dropbox? What will your online afterlife be like? 
There are many things to consider when making a will. There are the traditional aspects of a will that most people are familiar with such as:
  • Who the executor will be;
  • Who will be the beneficiaries of your assets, including property, shares or bank accounts;
  • Who will be the legal guardian of any children; and
  • Funeral arrangements.

But, have you considered what happens to your social media and Gmail accounts when you die? Would your beneficiaries be aware of funds in Paypal, Skype or a gaming account? Do you have a blog? Ebay or Amazon Account? Are precious photos kept on Dropbox? And the list goes on….

Your relatives could be left with the headache of unravelling your online life or funds could simply be lost.

It is important to update your will to provide for who, if anyone, can have access to your online accounts when you die and more importantly, what can be done with them.  For example, some sites, such as Twitter, will automatically delete your account after 6 months of inactivity but unless a specific request is made, your Facebook page could remain indefinitely.  Facebook also gives the option of creating a memorial page for the deceased so that tributes can be left. Is this something you would want?

There are currently no clear laws in Australia outlining what happens to your digital accounts when you die.  As such, the following practical steps should be taken when creating or updating your will:

  • Create a list of all your digital accounts, including usernames and passwords. Once a will is submitted to probate it is in the public domain.  Your will should therefore refer to where the list is only and not actually include it.
  • Specify how your digital accounts are to be dealt with after you die.
  • If desired, clearly waive your right to privacy so that your executors can freely access your accounts.

For advice or assistance on creating a will please contact Zelma Rudstein