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Sorting out the deceased digital footprint: a step-by-step guide

In today’s digital age, we all leave a digital footprint behind when we pass away. This digital footprint can include our social media profiles, email accounts, online banking and investment accounts, and other online accounts. It’s important to sort through these accounts and delete or deactivate them when someone dies, to protect their privacy and prevent identity theft. In this article, we will discuss some tips for sorting your digital footprint when someone dies.

Make a list of all the digital accounts and assets

The first step in sorting a digital footprint is to make a list of all the digital accounts and assets that the deceased person had. This list should include social media profiles, email accounts, online banking and investment accounts, and any other online accounts. You can also include any digital assets such as digital music, books, and movies.

Locate usernames and passwords

Once you have a list of all the digital accounts, the next step is to locate the usernames and passwords. This can be challenging, especially if the deceased person did not leave a record of their login details. You can try to access their email account to find any password reset requests or try contacting the customer support of the relevant websites to reset passwords.

Notify the relevant parties

After you have identified all the digital accounts, it’s important to notify the relevant parties such as social media platforms, email providers, and online banking and investment firms. This will ensure that they are aware of the situation and can take the necessary steps to deactivate or delete the accounts.

Deactivate or delete the accounts

Once you have notified the relevant parties, the next step is to deactivate or delete the accounts. Social media platforms and email providers typically have a process in place for deactivating or memorializing accounts. Online banking and investment accounts may require additional documentation such as a death certificate.

Consider digital assets

It’s important to consider any digital assets such as digital music, books, and movies. These assets may be subject to copyright laws, and it may not be possible to transfer them to another person. You can consult a lawyer to determine the best course of action.

Preserve memories

While it’s important to deactivate or delete digital accounts, it’s also important to preserve memories. You can download photos and videos from social media platforms and create a digital archive of these memories.

In conclusion, sorting through a digital footprint when someone dies can be challenging, but it’s important to protect the privacy of the deceased person and prevent identity theft. By following these tips, you can ensure that digital accounts are deactivated or deleted, and memories are preserved.

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