What happens to an account when a user passes away?

Hello,

What happens to an account when a Postcrossing user passes away?

I noticed one account I had received a postcard from had a status message from administrators applied to it, informing users what happened. However, the account still exists.

In another instance, an active personal account suddenly went inactive and there’s the possibility that family asked for the account to be deleted. Consequently, the travelling card I sent was automatically registered.

In preparing this post, there was also a question from 2021 regarding whether accounts can be passed from one generation to the next, so yet there’s another possibility.

It’s a rather morbid question, but one that I was curious about. Perhaps this topic could be addressed in a future blog post?

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Hi John! It’s an interesting question… it really depends.

Sometimes we don’t know that someone has passed away — in those cases, nothing happens. Many postcrossers will slowly stop their activities on the site as their health declines, and after some time, their accounts are switched to inactive automatically.

Sometimes, a friend or the family will reach out to us. If it’s a friend, we’ll try to verify the information so that we can register the postcards and lock the account until someone logs in again or contacts us.

If it’s the family, we offer to register the incoming postcards so that they don’t have to worry about it in the middle of their grieving. After that, what happens is up to them: some people want to keep the account as a sort of memorial to their loved one (or to let the community know), others would it like it be closed, and others still will continue the hobby further.

I hope this helps!

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@mezzanine2, your questions are not morbid. They are practical and offer something for us to think about.
After one’s passing, others are left behind to make a multitude of decisions, and to complete a number of practical and necessary tasks.
Wills offer clarity.
Pre-planning funerals offers ease to those left in charge.
Documents with detailed instructions offer a smooth transition for closure of bank accounts, email accounts, social media, etc.
In the case of Postcrossing, for instance, we can leave instructions to our family about our Postcrossing account, how it can be accessed, and who should be contacted to advise re one’s passing so that the account can be formally closed.
My family knows where to find this information. If I left this world tomorrow, I hope they follow my instructions. As a courtesy to Postcrossing and other social media, etc.
And so, here’s a thought for admin @meiadeleite: perhaps a brief note could be included in the welcome to Postcrossers on their entry into this wonderful community (e.g., Postcrossing - The Basics) that suggests new members consider providing instructions to family should they be unable to communicate - due to illness or death - about closure of one’s account?
Additionally, perhaps this topic is worthy of a brief article on the blog?
The topic can be discussed with sensitivity while being informative and helpful.

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Personally I would have felt a bit put off reading a message like that when I first opened my account - it would have killed a lot of the excitement. But I think if something was added to the settings for an account so that the owner could decide what would happen, that would be helpful. I would personally never remember to leave instructions for a site like this to family, so having it built in would be best. A default option would have to be decided though for those who do not check the settings or finish filling out profile etc. I think I had an account on another service that had an option such as if I did not log in for a year, the account would be passed over to a specified email of a family member and would become an inactive/memorial account. There are also options on some sites to auto-delete after a year but with the automatic setting to inactive on here, that is probably not neccessary for most people.

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My cell phone has setting for naming a person to handle the account in the event of the user’s death (it’s called a legacy contact here in the USA via the phone service). I entered my partner’s name, phone or email for contact, so they can be verified. Perhaps an option to create something like this.

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It’s not morbid but instead it is practical. A difficult subject that some people are not comfortable discussing or thinking about, but so important to talk about.
I have dealt with such matters with my own parents; one who planned in advance, and one who did not, which created very different and difficult circumstances for my siblings and myself.
I am glad you asked.

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Thank you for answering the question of what happens to a user’s account when that person passes away.

If an account moves into an inactive status, does it remain inactive until it’s deleted? How long is an inactive status in Postcrossing.com?

It would be interesting to hear the perspectives of Postcrossing users on the options to delete a deceased user’s account versus the option to maintain it as a personal memorial.

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Yes — it’s basically inactive until it is set back to active… or deleted.

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I have another question… if I know someone has passed away and their account is still active, where can I notify that?

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Hi Isabel! You can reach out to the team through the Contact Form, and we’ll have a look.

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Friday, May 17, 2024 - 08:44 (UTC -5)

And, no, I don’t mean did they go to The Great Postcrossing Meet-up in the Sky :rocket:

I mean does Postcrossing have any official Memorial Wall or Necrology? Some provision for staying on within Postcrossing? Some option or notice on our Profile? I haven’t found anything about this in the Terms of Service/Community Guidelines.

I ask because a old Postcrossing friend recently died and almost all traces of her were quickly scrubbed off the Postcrossing website and forum. The only thing left is NZ-197243.

Personally, I’ve worked hard over the last 5+ years to participate in and support Postcrossing in various ways online and off and I’d want those contributions to remain, especially on the Forum.

Modern estate planning now includes provisions for disposition of digital assets. The Executor of an estate can be asked to preserve or liquidate our presence online.

How does Postcrossing handle this?

Thanks.

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Hi Michael!

I’ve moved your post here, since someone already asked this question sometime ago. You can see my reply above, on the second post.

I’m sorry about your friend’s passing. In this case, their family asked for their Postcrossing account to be closed, which is what we did.

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I certainly hope accounts won’t be deleted, just because someone/another Postcrosser comes along and says a Postcrosser has passed away!!!

It should really only be possible to have an account deleted in the case of someone having passed away, if someone executes the will and can prove this very will of the Postcrosser!

Also, if it does no harm (financially,…), accounts should just keep existing. They are part of the history!

I say it here and now: Postcrossing has been such an essential part of my life for so long and has enriched my life so much :heartpulse: , I would seriously like my account to “live on”, for as long as Postcrossing exists, even if I can’t!

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@Robin67

An account will only be removed if the relatives want it that way…
So we should all tell our children, partners or other relatives early on what we want and hope that they accept our wishes.

That is what meiadeleite wrote one year ago:

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Saturday, May 18, 2024 - 08:38 (UTC -5)

When I searched for things on the Forum related to the topic of Postcrossers who died, I used the word “die”, not “pass”. I just didn’t think of that euphemism. That’s why I didn’t find the existing topic in my search results and created a new topic. Anna moved my post into this topic. But that move lost the title of my original topic which relates to the first line of my post. Without knowing the title of my original topic, the first sentence of my post, taken out of context, sounds strange. Here’s the original title that makes the beginning of the post sensible:

What Happens To A Postcrosser When They Die?

You can edit your post and add the title under date and time.

You could, too :grinning: