Do you need a social media will?

16 March 2015

Last Thursday, author Terry Pratchett announced his own death via his Twitter account. With more of us spending increasing amounts of time online, should we all start thinking about what will happen to our social media and online accounts when we die?

Last Thursday, author Terry Pratchett announced his own death via his Twitter account. 

A series of four Tweets created a short-story which linked to a statement announcing the author’s death.

The Tweets were not scheduled. They were sent by his assistant Rob Wilkins, shortly after he died.

Terry Pratchett's final Tweets

While Pratchett had planned what would happen to his social media accounts when he died, a Saga survey has found that 87% of Britons do not have a plan for their digital accounts in the event of their death.

What will happen to your digital accounts?

With Britons spending increasing amounts of time online, the need for proper planning is clear.

Planning a Digital Legacy should encompass everything from shutting down social media profiles, apps and website accounts, to recovering outstanding funds held in these accounts. It should also include removing unwanted digital content, such as inappropriate photos or blog posts.

It is also important to remove as much data about you as possible to avoid potential identity theft.

This is, however, far from straight-forward and could involve a great deal of effort at an emotional time.

Planning your Digital Legacy is not exclusively about protecting against risks. As Terry Pratchett has shown, social media is also a way to leave a lasting message to your loved ones and the world.

Broadcasting your final message

Helping to advise on Digital Legacy planning, Saga Legal Services has created a free Guide To Digital Legacy, and a directory of the most common websites with information on how to close accounts with them, or recover funds.

What arrangements have you made for your digital legacy? What would your last Tweet say? Share your views in the comments box below.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.