What Will Happen to My Match.com Account When I Die?

Your Match profile may remain active long after your death.

What happens to your Match.com account when you die depends on a few things, including:

  • whether you’ve left a plan
  • whether anyone tries to access your account
  • your state law, and
  • Match’s policies about the accounts of deceased people.

Have you Made a Plan?

The surest way to know what will happen to your Match account is to plan ahead, leaving any necessary instructions to the people who will be wrapping up your estate.

Providing Your Survivors with Access to Your Account

If you want someone to access your Match 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 deactivate your account so that other users won’t be able to see your profile.   (If you have friends or family who also have Match accounts, it might be disturbing to them to come across your profile after your death.)

However, if you ask someone to access your account, keep in mind that Match’s Terms of Use Agreement states that your “account is non-transferable and all of your rights to your profile or contents within your account terminate upon your death.” So, giving someone else access will only work for as long as Match thinks you’re alive. If or when it learns of your death, it will “terminate” your account.   It’s unclear from Match’s published policies exactly what it means by “terminate,” but you can probably assume it means that it will deactivate the account.

Read on to learn more about how Match will keep your personal information even after it deactivates your account.

Keeping Your Account Private

If you prefer to keep your account private, you have a few options.

Delete the account before you die. This is not always practical, but it may be the most effective way to keep your account private.

Keep in mind that “canceling your membership” is different from “deactivating” or “deleting” your profile.   According to the help topic Canceling/Resigning a Paid Subscription, after you cancel your paid subscription “your profile and photos will remain visible” and Match will continue to send your matches via email, if your account settings allow for that.  So cancelling your subscription is not enough to keep your profile off the site.   To make your profile not visible to other users, you must either “hide” your account using your “visibility settings” or delete/deactivate your account.    Though, even when you deactivate your account – do not think that all of your information will be deleted or will remain private.  Here’s why:

  • Match promises to keep your profile information for at least one year, so that you can choose to reactivate.
  • Match will keep your personal information for an unknown period of time for “historical and legal purposes.”  
  • Match will share your personal information if required by law enforcement or “in connection with a substantial corporate transaction,” such as sale of the business or bankruptcy. (See Match’s Privacy Policy.)
  • Other members of Match may have saved your personal information – like screenshots of your profile or copies of emails or IMs that you exchanged.

For all of these reasons, even if you deactivate your account, it will be impossible to delete all of the information you’ve provided to or through Match.   This applies to “free memberships” as well as paid subscriptions.

Instruct someone you trust to delete the account after you die. As mentioned above, you can leave login information and instruct someone go into the account and delete it after your death.  Unlike other online membership sites, Match has no official process for asking them to do this, so it is uncertain whether survivors will be able to delete your account without your login and password information.    

If you go this route to protect your privacy, understand that your personal information may never be permanently deleted (see bullets above).

Depend on Match’s inactive policy to delete the account.  Match does not have an official “inactive” policy.   In fact, although it’s clear that you can only reactivate a deactivated account within a year, if you haven’t deactivated your account, it seems that your profile will remain active indefinitely – even if you do not pay for a subscription.

Because Match gives no indication that it will ever delete a profile due to inactivity, if you want to keep your account private, do not rely on Match to delete your account.

Instructing Match What to Do With Your Account When You Die

Match does not currently allow you to decide what should happen to your account when you die, but it might someday. Companies that do business online are recognizing that users might want a choice about whether their accounts should be delete, archived, or 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. Keep an eye out for Match to provide a similar tool.

If You Don’t Make a Plan

If you don’t make a plan for your Match account, your profile will continue to be active indefinitely.   As discussed above, Match does not have a transparent policy about when it removes inactive accounts, but it is possible that it has one and that – eventually, someday, maybe – Match will remove your profile.

Your 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 Match 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 a growing number of states your executor may have authority to demand access to or information from   your account.

A small handful of states have passed laws granting executors authority over digital accounts. In those states and under limited circumstances, “account custodians” like Match 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 Match 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.

The Bottom Line

If you do not make a plan, after your death, your active Match account will probably continue to exist indefinitely. 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 to someone you trust, detailing how to access the account and what you want that person to do with it.

 

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP ?

Talk to an Estate Planning attorney.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you