What happens to your eHarmony account when you die depends on a few things, including:
The surest way to know what will happen to your eHarmony account is to plan ahead, leaving any necessary instructions to the people who will be wrapping up your estate.
If you want someone to access your eHarmony account after your death, leave instructions about 1) how to log in to the account and 2) what to do with it. Why would you want to give someone else access your account after you die? Maybe to let the people you’ve been communicating with know that you’ve died, or to cancel your account so that other users won’t be able to see your profile. Your survivors may find it difficult to communicate with eHarmony without your account info, so helping them login as you is the only sure way to deactivate (and stop paying for) your account.
However, if you do ask someone to access your account, keep in mind that eHarmony’s Terms of Service Agreement does not allow you to share your password – so it might delete your account if it discovers someone else is using it – which may be what you want anyway.
Read on to learn more about how eHarmony’s policies (or lack thereof) about inactive accounts, keeping your information private, and deleting inactive accounts.
If you prefer to keep your account private, you have a few options.
1. Delete the account before you die. This is not always practical, but it may be the most effective way to keep your account private. You can cancel your membership at any time. You won’t get any money back (perhaps unless you are dead or have a disability that prevents you from dating), but cancelling your account will keep your profile from being seen by other users. Here’s what eHarmony says about closing your account:
“Closing your eHarmony account can be done via our website by following these steps:
“Because many users tend to use our service at different points of their relationship-seeking life, we retain your personal information for continued service and convenience purposes until you advise us not to do so. Notwithstanding the foregoing, we may retain personal information in order to comply with applicable laws, keep accurate records, resolve disputes, prevent fraud, enforce our Terms and Conditions of Service or other agreements, or for any other legally permissible purpose.”
This concern about not ever being able to delete your account was highlighted in the Ashley Madison account breach in August 2015. The data taken from the website included data from deleted accounts – even when account holders paid extra for a “Full Delete.” According to Business Insider, “While things like your email address, full name, street address, and phone number were erased, Ashley Madison allegedly retained the user's date of birth, GPS-based coordinates, and ID number, among other things.”
On the upside, because eHarmony is a paid account, once the payments stop, it will hide your profile. This is different from sites that allow free profiles. On those sites, your active profile may live on long after your death.
2. Instruct someone you trust to delete the account after you die. If you don’t want to delete your account before you die, you can leave login information and instruct someone go into the account and delete it after your death. If you don’t want to provide access to your account, you can leave instructions for your executor to contact eHarmony and ask for your account to be closed. Your executor will get a response something like this:
“We are sorry to hear of your recent loss and would like to assist you with your request. In order for us to help you resolve this matter as quickly as possible, please respond directly to this email with the following information:
1. The Account Holder’s full name and email address associated with account.
2. The Account Holder’s home and/or billing address.
3. The Account Holder’s date of death
4. Any additional information you wish to provide regarding this matter.
Once your email response is received, your case will be assigned to a Specialist that will review this matter and take appropriate action within 2 business days.”
Again, keep in mind even after your account is closed, your personal information may never be permanently deleted (see above).
3. Depend on eHarmony’s inactive policy to delete the account. eHarmony will stop showing your profile after it stops receiving payment. So, if you’ve made a flat payment for account, you can be fairly sure that your profile will become inactive once your subscription runs out. However, if your account renews automatically, it will remain active until your executor cancels your account, stops payment, or tells eHarmony about your death.
eHarmony does not currently allow you to decide what should happen to your account when you die. Companies that do business online are starting to recognize that users might want a choice about whether their accounts should be deleted, archived, or even passed onto another person. And some companies are providing tools that allow account holders to decide the fate of their accounts. For example, Google’s Inactive Account Manager allows account holders to decide whether to delete the account or pass (some) account information on to survivors after a period of inactivity. It’s possible that eHarmony may someday provide a similar tool.
If you don’t make a plan for your eHarmony account, your profile will continue to be active until your subscriptions ends or your payments stop. As discussed above, eHarmony will keep your account information indefinitely – but at lease your profile won’t show.
Even if you don’t make a plan, an executor could try to access your account -–to retrieve information, send messages, or delete your profile. Without login and password information, your executor will have a very tough time getting access to the account, and eHarmony is unlikely to provide your executor access unless it is legally obligated to do so. Until recently, those legal obligations have been few and far between. However, the law is changing and in rare situations your executor may have authority to demand access to or information from your account.
In a growing number of states and under limited circumstances, “account custodians” like eHarmony may be legally obligated to provide access to or information about a deceased person’s account. These are new and untested laws, and you can expect eHarmony will do everything it can not to grant access to your executor, even in the states where the law requires it to do so. It remains to be seen what will happen in this unsettled area of law.
You can learn more about this, including information about your state’s law on Nolo’s Digital Assets page.
If you do not make a plan, after your death, your active eHarmony account will remain active until your subscription ends or your payments stop. Depending on your state, your executor may have a slim chance to gain authority over your account, but it will be a struggle. If you want to control what happens to your profile, either delete it before you die or provide instructions and access information to someone you trust.