Tag Archives: deceased

Are your loved ones protected when you die?

last-will  Larry and Susan had been living together for more than 20 years.  They never legally married; they said once had been enough.  A piece of paper wouldn’t change how they felt about each other.  Larry had been married before and had two sons.  Susan had also been married previously and she had a daughter.

When Larry’s father became incapacitated, they moved into his house to take care of him.  His father, to thank them for all they’d done, left the house to both of them in his will and named Larry beneficiary of his life insurance policy.  When his father died, both Larry and Susan inherited the house and Larry promised to deposit the check from the insurance company into their joint account as soon as it arrived.

As Larry was crossing the street on his way home from work one day, he was struck by a car driven by a drunk driver and he died almost instantly.

Larry didn’t have a will and had not left any legal document naming Susan as his heir.  They lived in a state that did not recognize common law marriage so, when he died, his sons inherited everything.  They forced Susan to move out of the house and refused to give her any of the proceeds from the life insurance policy.  In essence, Susan was left with almost nothing!

Families today are very complex.  Some are the traditional married mother and father in their first marriage.  Many more are couples who were previously married to other spouses or who are legally married gay couples.  However, many people live together without benefit of a legal ceremony. This mixture of circumstances makes inheritance much more difficult and complex.

The only way to be sure your loved ones are protected is to prepare a will naming the person(s) you want to inherit your assets when you die.  Otherwise, state law will dictate who receives what.  Not you. It’s frightening that more than half of the people living in the United States today do not have a will and have not protected their loved ones. You can find a simple will form on the internet or can meet with an estate planning attorney to discuss the options that are best for you.

Don’t be like Larry.  Act now so those you love will be protected when you’re gone. For more information about wills and estate planning, go to www.diesmart.com.

Twitter – When do the Tweets stop?

If a Twitter user dies, here are the steps you must take to remove his or her account or to save a backup of their public Tweets.

Contact Twitter at privacy [Email address: privacy #AT# twitter.com - replace #AT# with @ ] or by mail or fax at:

Twitter Inc.
c/o Trust and Safety
795 Folsome St., Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94107
Fax: 415-222-9958

In the letter that you send, include the following information:

  1. Your full name, contact information (including email address) and your relationship to the deceased user.
  2. The user name of the Twitter account or a link to the profile page of the Twitter account.  
  3. A  link to a public obituary or other news article about the account holder’s death.

For more information about closing out social media and other accounts when someone dies, check out our book “Grave Robbers…How to prevent identity theft of the deceased.”


Yahoo – What happens to a deceased’s online account?

Any free Yahoo account will automatically be cancelled after it has been inactive for 90 days.  Premium services, however, will continue to be charged until Yahoo has been officially notified of the death of the account holder.

Only a person who has the authority to settle the deceased’s estate, i.e. an executor, can notify them about the death.  To do that, the following information must be sent to Yahoo at Custodian of Record, Yahoo Inc., 701 First Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1019:

1) The executor’s identification.

2) Notification of their appointment as executor.

3) A Copy of the death certificate.

What if the executor or family member just wants the deceased’s password or access to their Yahoo account?  No password will be issued by Yahoo to the executor or anyone else.

If you’d like more information about this or other related topics, check out our book “Grave Robbers…How to prevent identity theft of the deceased”.

MySpace – Does this digital space stay mine forever?

The simple answer is yes.  If no action is taken, your account will remain in cyberspace forever.

However, the MySpace account of someone who is deceased can be cancelled by their next of kin (mother, father, spouse, domestic partner, son or daughter).  That person will need to send proof of death (obituary or death certificate) to accountcare [Email address: accountcare #AT# support.myspace.com - replace #AT# with @ ].  That email should come from the personal email account of the person who is writing.  It should include an explanation of that person’s relationship to the deceased and the deceased’s MySpace friend ID (which can be found by clicking on the profile and copying the string of numbers or letters at the end of the URL) as well as the specific request to delete the profile.

Other options available are to preserve the profile as is or to remove some of the content that may no longer be appropriate.  MySpace will be glad to remove any content that is found objectionable.

Another choice is to create a memorial for the deceased – a group page to honor that person.  That page is then linked to the deceased’s MySpace profile.

If there is access to the email account tied to the deceased’s MySpace profile, the password can be obtained thru the Forgot Password link located on the MySpace home page.  If there is no access, the password will not be provided by MySpace.

To learn more about how to protect digital assets, check on our book “Grave Robbers…How to stop identity theft of the deceased.”

PayPal – How can I cancel a deceased’s online account?

Only the executor of the estate can close a PayPal account that is held in the name of the deceased.  To do so, the executor must fax the following documentation to 402-537-5732: 

1) A cover sheet that says the account holder is deceased and the executor wishes to close the account.

2) A copy of the account holder’s death certificate.

3) A copy of the deceased account holder’s will or other legal documentation that provides verification about the executor.

4) A copy of a photo ID of the executor.

The faxed documentation will be reviewed and, if approved, the account will be closed.  If funds are available in the account, a check will be issued in the account holder’s name, and the Executor of the Estate will then have the ability to cash the check.

What if somone wants the deceased’s password or access to the account?

According to PayPal, any requests for information about an account other than to close it must be obtained through a subpoena.

To learn more about digital accounts, check out our book “Grave Robbers…How to prevent identity theft of the deceased”.


If the account is not cancelled, it will probably just remain inactive forever.