Instagram gives users the opportunity to document the important (and sometimes not-so-important!) moments in their lives. However, all lives end. When a loved one passes away, you might wonder what to do about their Instagram account.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Happens When a Deceased Person’s Instagram Account is Memorialized?
- How to Memorialize an Instagram Account
On the one hand, you might not want to delete an Instagram account completely. Being able to return to their Instagram account from time to time may be an option you’d like to have. On the other hand, you may also feel the need to protect their account from any future activity.
There’s a way to strike a balance. You can memorialize Instagram accounts of loved ones who’ve passed on. Like other online memorial sites, this option gives you the chance to preserve someone’s digital legacy after their passing.
This guide will help. It explains what memorializing an Instagram account specifically does to the account, and how to go about the process.
Tip: You can continue a loved one's digital legacy with a virtual memorial on a platform like GatheringUs. They even have specialists who can guide and support you through the planning process.
What Happens When a Deceased Person’s Instagram Account is Memorialized?
Again, it’s easy to understand why you might feel the urge to create a “digital afterlife” for a loved one who’s passed on. When people pass away, it’s not uncommon for family members and friends to revisit photo albums of them when they feel the desire to reflect on past happy memories.
The problem is that many people today don’t maintain physical photo albums. True, you could print Instagram photos from a deceased loved one’s account, but you might also want to give all their other social media followers the option to revisit those pictures in the future.
You can only do so by keeping their account up. You just want to make sure the account is safe. Memorializing their Instagram accounts helps you achieve this goal.
A memorialized Instagram is different from a traditional account in these ways:
- No one will ever be able to log into a memorialized Instagram account. This ensures hackers and others like them won’t break into the account and ruin your loved one’s memory by posting new content, deleting photos, etc.
- The account will feature the word “Remembering” next to your loved one’s name on their main profile page. This clearly lets anyone visiting the account know the person to whom it belongs is no longer alive.
- If a loved one shared any posts from other accounts, those posts will remain on Instagram, viewable to any members of the audience with whom they shared them.
- Memorial accounts won’t show up in Explore and certain other areas of Instagram.
Keep in mind that once you memorialize an Instagram account, no one will be able to make any of the following types of changes:
- Changes to any photos or videos the account holder added to their profile.
- Changes to comments on posts your loved one shared through their profile.
- Privacy setting adjustments.
- Changes to a profile picture, followers, or followed accounts.
You need to consider your own personal feelings when deciding whether to memorialize an Instagram account for a loved one after their passing. You might also want to discuss this matter with other family members and friends.
The following are just a few key reasons you might want to memorialize an Instagram account. Keep them in mind as you think about this decision and discuss it with others.
Celebrating their identity
A social media account isn’t just a generic record of someone’s life experiences. It can also serve as a reflection of their personality or identity. The content someone decides to post on Instagram may say a lot about who they are.
For instance, someone who frequently posts beautiful pictures of gorgeous spots they’ve visited throughout the world is clearly someone with artistic talent and a love for new experiences.
On the other hand, someone else might use their Instagram account to post funny memes, showing off their unique sense of humor. Others use Instagram to show off pictures of family and friends, indicating they’re the type of person who cherishes their relationships with others.
The main point to understand is that an Instagram account expresses a person’s inner spirit, values, talents, and more. Thus, memorializing an Instagram account offers a way of keeping a loved one alive, even if only to a small degree.
Creating a digital afterlife
Again, you need to think about all the people who cared for your loved one who has passed on. There’s a good chance they’ll want to know they have the freedom to reflect on their experiences together during tough times.
With a memorialized Instagram account, you give that option to everyone whose life your loved one touched.
Preserving important content
There’s a possibility you may want access to your loved one’s Instagram account for very practical reasons in the future.
For example, maybe you’ll decide to create a memorial award or organization in their memory, hosting annual events that celebrate their life. Being able to view their account ensures you can always print out photos from it for such events.
Giving future generations a unique opportunity
Once again, even if you do have physical photo albums of your deceased loved one, not everyone will be able to view these albums. This brings up another reason to consider memorializing an Instagram account.
For instance, maybe members of future generations will want to learn about the grandma, great uncle, or older sibling (just to name a few examples) they never got a chance to meet. They’d likely be delighted to know they can visit their memorialized Instagram account. This allows them to learn about an ancestor in a more direct and personal way than they otherwise could.
Memories are sacred. Unfortunately, you can’t be thoroughly confident that such items as photo albums will always be safe. It’s not a pleasant thought to consider, but it’s entirely possible you could lose many of the pictures you have of a loved one in the future as a result of fire, flooding, or similar incidents.
Memorializing the Instagram of a deceased loved one gives you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ll always have pictures of them and their life backed up online if you ever do lose physical copies.
If you think memorializing an Instagram account is a good idea, keep reading. The next section of this guide will explain each step in the process.
How to Memorialize an Instagram Account
It only takes a few simple steps to preserve an Instagram account in memory of a loved one.
Submit a request
Instagram wants to be respectful of users who’ve passed away and their loved ones. They can’t simply memorialize an account because someone casually submitted a request.
They need to confirm the request is valid. That means it needs to come from someone who is genuinely in a position to determine if memorializing their Instagram account is something their surviving loved ones want. Instagram also wants to protect users from people falsely claiming a user has passed away when that’s not actually the case.
Thus, Instagram requires loved ones of deceased users to contact them directly through a contact form designed specifically for these types of requests (which you can find here). Along with basic information about the user whose account you wish to memorialize, Instagram asks that you provide some proof of death, such as a link to an obituary.
Wait for a response
Instagram’s reviewers need to carefully evaluate these requests. Depending on the circumstances, it can take some time to get a response.
It’s also worth noting that Instagram will not allow you or anyone else to log into a loved one’s account while you await the reviewers to complete their process. This is against Instagram’s privacy policies.
Receive the response
Eventually, Instagram’s reviewers will get back to you. It’s possible they’ll request additional information if they need you to confirm certain details.
Otherwise, they’ll typically let you know whether your request has been approved.
How to remove an Instagram account
You might instead decide you’d prefer to remove a deceased loved one’s Instagram account.
If this is the case, you’ll need to be a verified immediate family member, provide the loved one’s birth certificate or death certificate, and proof that you’re a lawful representative of the person or their estate under local law. Use this form to get started.
Memorializing an Instagram Account: Keeping a Memory Alive
Depending on how active a loved one was on social media, their Instagram could provide those they’ve left behind with a chance to look back on their life and smile. Consider memorializing their Instagram if that sounds appealing to you and your family.
This process may also get you to start considering your own digital legacy. Ensure that your digital assets are taken care of according to your wishes by making a will. You can easily create one from home with an online will maker like Trust & Will.
Tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, closing accounts and other aspects of handling a loved one's unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.