Plan To Get Your Digital Affairs in Order

Woman wearing a thick sweater typing on a keyboard


After You Die, Your Digital Life Lives On

When Chapman Funerals & Cremations first opened our doors, we never could have fathomed what life would look like today. Our lives were much simpler a century ago. The world was limited to a few miles from home, and the people we loved lived just a stone’s throw away.


Today, the world moves quickly, and our friends and family are spread far and wide. Technology keeps us feeling close though. Instead of hitching up your horse and buggy for a visit across town or sending a telegraph, we rely on texting, video calls, email and social media to stay connected.


As we use more and more of this technology, we collect online accounts and create digital facets of our lives that stick around after we die. When you plan to get your final affairs in order, you might think about estate planning, or have even considered the many benefits of preplanning, but many people fail to consider the digital life they leave behind.




The Gift of Foresight

When you die, all the many details of your funeral service and other end-of-life responsibilities your family will be shouldered with will quickly become overwhelming—especially when people are grieving your passing. Creating a will helps allocate assets. Making an official funeral preplan removes the burden of planning funeral arrangements from their plate. But you’ll still need to make arrangements to handle your digital accounts in order to free them from the extremely time-consuming task.


As the internet becomes more entwined in our lives, we pile up more and more online accounts for everything from online banking and stock brokerages to streaming accounts, newspaper subscriptions, club memberships and social media profiles.


Ask yourself: What do I want to happen to my online presence when I’m gone? Do I want my social media accounts to be left open for my family and friends to visit my memory, or does it feel weird for my life to be visible online? Whatever you wish, it will be difficult for your family to know if you don’t leave them instructions.


Some accounts may hold information you’d rather have deleted after your death. Others may cost money to maintain in the form of subscriptions, many of which submit automatic payments. Arranging to close online accounts can protect your family and your assets when you’re gone.


Do the Work Now, So They Won’t Have To

Most accounts people use online are for services that are privately owned. This includes streaming services, like Netflix and online marketplaces like Amazon. Social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter also fall into this category.


Most companies have an online form or email address that your family can use to reach out upon your death. A quick internet search should do the trick here. For non-financial accounts like social media, your family will need information like your name and birthdate, but they might also be asked to provide official documentation such as a death certificate before the company will agree to hand over access to the account.


For financial accounts like online banking, credit cards, and stocks, your family will usually need to provide ample documentation before a financial company will let someone besides the accountholder access the account. In some cases, it might be a good idea to reach out to your bank or financial institution ahead of time and add a trusted friend or family member to your account. Otherwise, financial companies generally need documents like a death certificate, bank account numbers, and proof that the person can act on the deceased’s behalf as an executor. 


It's advisable to create a legal will to ensure your finances are handled just as you want. In addition, it’s wise to create a list of all your online accounts, including usernames and passwords, and what you want to happen to the accounts upon death. Specify a trusted individual to handle this when it’s time, and be sure to tell them where this information can be found.


Memories Can Live on Forever

While technology rapidly evolves, some things never change. People will always need to gather together to share in their grief, and your loved ones will appreciate a place they can return to so they can remember you and mourn. When friends and family are scattered far and wide, visiting a physical grave or memorial marker isn’t always possible. A memorial doesn’t have to be a tangible place. If you prefer, your social media profiles can become “living memorials,” where people can return to whenever they want to look at pictures, celebrate your life, and leave comments and stories.


When you plan your funeral with Chapman Funerals & Cremations, we will create a free online obituary on our website. This is a place where people can leave their condolences for family, see pictures of your life, and send flowers.


From horse and carriages to electric cars, from photograph albums to live-streamed funerals or memorial services, we’ve helped generations of families find their way through difficult moments in their lives. And after more than a century, we’ve learned what a gift it is to families when their loved ones plan ahead.


Preplanning for after we’re gone creates peace of mind, not only for yourself, but for the people you love. When your friends and family are grieving, the assurance that they are following your wishes can help with the pain of loss and gives them the time to comfort one another. While our funeral home can’t manage your online presence for you after death, we can help you plan a meaningful goodbye so that when the day comes, life is a little easier for your family and they can focus on honoring a life they love.


If you’re interested in learning more about funeral preplanning, visit us at any of our Massachusetts locations in Falmouth, West Falmouth, Mashpee, Martha's Vineyard, Wareham, Harwich, Yarmouth, Marstons Mills, Nantucket, Bridgewater, and East Bridgewater. Or, if you’re ready, you can start planning online.

© Chapman Funerals & Cremations
Supported by SRS Computing




Privacy Policy & Terms of Use | Accessibility