When Your LinkedIn Profile Outlives You

1362083091_rip-poems10People die. LinkedIn doesn’t.   What happens to their LinkedIn profile after someone’s passed away? If their profile remains, it’s upsetting to see suggestions that you connect with someone you might know (well, you did know them) or suggesting you congratulate someone on a work anniversary. If not upsetting, it’s at least creepy to get messages from the beyond.   Make sure that it’s within your heart they won’t be forgotten and not on LinkedIn. With 3 funerals in the space of one month, this difficult subject has been on my mind.

If immediate family members are tech savvy, they may think about all the social media accounts that their deceased loved one had and realize they should do something with them. A lot of the time, remaining family members are not particularly involved with social media themselves or have so much else to deal with that a still-open LinkedIn account is the least of their concerns.   As a close friend or extended family member you could help either by suggesting it’s something the family might want to consider doing or offering do it for them.

LinkedIn actually makes it pretty convenient to take care of this. While they don’t offer any advice on how to broach this delicate subject with people (maybe Miss Manners has some advice for that) they do provide the information needed to have an account taken down.

When a member dies: http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2842/~/deceased-linkedin-member—removing-profile. To summarize:

To start the process, you’ll need to answer some questions about the person who has passed away. The form can be completed and signed electronically via DocuSign. You’ll be sent an email titled “Email Validation: Verification of Death.” The email will contain a validation code that you will use to complete the DocuSign process.

LinkedIn will need to know the member’s name, the company they worked at most recently, your relationship to them, and a link to their profile. It’s also very helpful if you can provide them with the member’s email address so LinkedIn can find and verify their account.

Candles in memory ofYou can prepare for this eventuality yourself and make it easier.   My list of accounts and passwords are stored with my will and related paperwork. My adult kids will have to take on this responsibility as my husband is one of those less tech-savvy guys. In my case, all they’ll need to do is open my profile using my password, go to “Privacy and Settings” and then choose “Account” on the bottom left of the screen. On that screen on the bottom right is an option to “close your account.” Sad but people will thank you for it.