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How to Close an Instagram Account When Someone Dies

Category: Legacy

It may seem trivial to be dealing with social media accounts after someone you love passes away, especially when there are so many other matters to organise. However, the digital age in which we are now well and truly a part of means it is important we don’t ignore social media.

An unexpected online post, picture or comment has the potential to trigger grief unexpectedly and unnecessarily. To avoid this, read on to find out how to deal with an Instagram account when someone dies.

Each social media company has different ways to tackle this. Instagram has two main procedures.

1) Removing the account completely

To do this you must be a ‘verified’ immediate family member of the deceased. In order to confirm this, Instagram requires proof of your identity in relation to the deceased once you submit your request. This can be;

  • The deceased person’s birth certificate
  • The deceased person’s death certificate
  • Proof of authority under local law that you are the lawful representative of the deceased person or his/her estate

Once Instagram receives this information with your request, the account and images are removed.

2) Memorialising the account

Instagram offers a memorialising service, which allows the account to stay online without anyone accessing the login by securing the account. The social media company states that they try to prevent any references to memorialised accounts from appearing on Instagram in ways that may be upsetting to friends and family.

In fact, although the posts, photos and videos stay visible to the audience they were originally shared with, a memorialized account cannot be changed in any way. This means there cannot be changes to ‘likes’, followers, tags or comments.

When an account is memorialized, it also doesn’t appear in public spaces on the app, such are their ‘Explore’ tab.

Keep in mind it is important to choose between these above options and not to be tempted to log in to an account that’s not yours. If this happens, not only would you be in violation of the website’s terms and conditions, you could also be breaking the law.

Online laws and the legal issues surrounding social media accounts are still a grey area when it comes to a person dying. Problems can arise when this is coupled with the complications of administration needed for estates and wills. In order to protect yourself in this already difficult time, using the procedures outlined above and reading the terms of service Instagram provides, ensures the account is taken care of in the safest possible way.

Again, Instagram ask for a valid request along with proof of death, such as a link to an obituary or news article. However, they cannot provide anyone with the login details for a memorialized account as it is against their privacy policies.