Probate – What happens to your Instagram account when you die?

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What happens to my Instagram profile when I die?

Instagram is part of our ‘digital estate’ that needs to be dealt with alongside ‘Probate’. 

As our digital footprint continues to grow, so do the things executors/families need to deal with in the event of a loved on passing.

Instagram provide the opportunity to have a deceased’s profile either removed, or ‘memorialised’.  So how do you do that?

Do we have to notify Instagram of the death of a loved one?

There is no obligation to notify Instagram.  And indeed, if the personal representatives of the deceased have access to the account (ie login credentials) they can simply login and remove the account.  Similarly, a ‘digital’ will may help with this and other online profiles and accounts (see below).

How do you inform Instagram of the death of a loved one?

Instagram will require proof of (a) the death of the user, and (b) the authority that someone has to be dealing with their digital estate.

This will likely include a copy of the deceased’s death certificate.  And, some form of proof ‘under local law (as they phrase it) that you are dealing with the estate – so a copy of the grant of probate in the UK.

The account can then be either deleted, or memorialised.

Report a deceased person’s account on Instagram

What is a Memorialised Instagram account?

A memorialised account will simply show the phrase ‘remembering’.  Not all social media platforms provide this facility.  A memorialised account will not show on all searches.

The personal representatives of the deceased will not be given access to the memorialised account.

What is a Digital Will?

Digital wills are not something defined in law, and are not legally binding on anyone.  Think of your digital will being simply a cross between a traditional ‘letter of wishes’, and an inventory of your social media profiles and online accounts including login credentials.

This provides your personal representatives with instant access to your social media accounts, without having to report your passing to the platform provider.

The practical challenge with a digital will is keeping it up to date!  We are forever changing passwords, and come what may, who wants to be constantly updating something reminding us of our mortality.  One school of thought is to use one central password keeper (eg iOS) that is set up to automatically update, and your digital will then can simply give access to that one password account where the stored login credentials for your social media should be correct.

There is no particular format that a digital will should take, and it is not intended to take care of anything that has monetary value.

Do Instagram off ‘Legacy Contacts’?

Some platforms allow you to nominate someone within your account profile to be your ‘legacy contact’ in the event of your passing.  This is not something that Instagram currently offers.

Dealing with other social media accounts

Read more about what needs to/can happen to happen by clicking on each one below:

  • Facebook – they do provide facility for memorialising the profile, as well as nominating a legacy contact during your lifetime.
  • Twitter/X – there is no option to memorialise the profile, just close it.
  • Snapchat – there is no option to memorialise the profile, just close it.
  • TikTok – there is no option to memorialise the profile, just close it.
  • Pinterest – there is no option to memorialise the profile, just close it.
  • YouTube – there is no opportunity to memorialise the profile.

Free Probate Guide

We hope you’ve found this probate guide helpful.  Do check out our hundreds of other free legal guides.  Do remember that they are guides, and are NOT intended to provide specific legal advice to you.  If you need advice, do reach out – our expert wills and probate solicitors would love to help.  You can leave a comment below, email us, or call.

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