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Protecting Your Digital Legacy

July 28, 2023
min read

These days, you need to do more than prepare a will for your passing. You also need to consider how you'll protect your online data after you’re no longer around.

Have you thought about what will happen to your online accounts after you pass away?

Losing a loved one is hard enough—you don’t want to add more stress to your family’s lives if they can’t deactivate your Facebook account.

When you think about it, you realize there are a lot of accounts with your personal information, from your social media profiles to your bank account. And more often than not, no one has access to that information except you.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals target accounts left open by those who’ve passed on, which is known as ghosting.

After you’re gone, who will protect your personal information? That’s why it’s important to plan ahead. Part of your estate plan needs to focus on what you’ll do with your online accounts after your death.

Protect yourself from identity theft

Cybercriminals often try to hijack the social media pages of those who’ve passed away.

After you discover a loved one’s account has been compromised, it may be too late. The cybercriminal can use that information to commit tax fraud, impersonate them, or apply for loans and lines of credit.

By putting a plan in place, not only will you reduce some stress for your loved ones, but you’ll also better protect your personal information from cybercriminals.

Make a list

Let’s take inventory of all the digital accounts you have open. Some of the accounts you’ll want to think about include:

  • Password managers
  • Financial accounts
  • Social media profiles

From online bills to social media pages, it can be a little overwhelming to look at all your different accounts. We’re going to look at how you can protect the digital information you have in each one:

Password managers

Many people use a password manager to keep track of all their account credentials. But if you haven’t shared your account credentials with anyone, it can be incredibly difficult for loved ones to access those accounts after your passing.

Most password managers have a built-in emergency access feature, which grants access to your account if you suddenly pass away.

Look at the emergency access features that your password management software offers and set it up with someone you trust. This way, they’ll be able to access your most important accounts after you pass away.

Financial accounts

The accounts that hold all your investments. Your bank or credit union accounts. Your pension plan. What happens to all your online financial accounts once you pass away?

In most cases, you can designate a beneficiary who will receive the funds once you pass away—after which, the account will be closed. Be sure to designate a beneficiary for your RRSP, TFSA, and more.

Social media

If your social profiles are left active, family members may still receive notifications from the account, which can be unexpected and upsetting.

What would you prefer to happen to your social media accounts once you’ve passed away? There are generally 2 ways to go:

  • Make it a memorial page. With this feature, your social media profile will be converted into a tribute page. Friends and family can leave comments or look through old photos and posts, but page notifications will no longer be sent to your contacts. This feature is available for Facebook.
  • Delete the account. You can choose to have your account deleted upon your passing. A loved one may need to reach out to the company on your behalf.

If you would like to close the social media account of someone who’s passed away, keep in mind that you will need a copy of their death certificate.

Leave clear instructions

You want to make this process as easy as possible for your family. So, share with them all the accounts they’ll need to close, along with the information they’ll need to access each one—and store it in a safe place.

By leaving no loose ends, you can ensure cybercriminals won’t be able to take over your accounts.

Let’s talk about your legacy

Most of us spend little time thinking about how to plan for our passing. We put it off year after year, assuming we’ll get around to it someday.

Planning your digital legacy today will save your loved ones from stress later on. If you have any questions about estate planning, don’t hesitate to contact us—we’re always happy to help.

Want to Discuss with an Advisor?

We would be happy to discuss your unique situation with you.
Our goal is to make complex topics like this one, simple.

“I had a wonderful experience at Cambrian. I've been with the same institution for the last 21 years and all the fees and restrictions have finally pushed me into wanting to make some changes.

My advisor was prepared for my arrival with all the documents ready and waiting. He took the time to go over each one...”

Read full client story

on his experience with Cambrian


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