Feel Good Friday: Facebook Offers Users More Control of Their Digital Afterlife


We've spoken before about planning for your "Digital Afterlife" - what becomes of your online accounts, such as social media, after you die.  Until now, Facebook has permitted pages of those deceased to be memorialized, which allowed the user's Friends to continue making posts on their timeline if their security settings already allowed for it.  (Some people don't allow others to post on their timeline.)  Memorialization did not grant anyone the option to manage or make changes to the account.  This week, Facebook unveiled a new option that allows registered users to appoint a "Legacy Contact" - someone you choose to look after your account if it's been memorialized or delete it if you prefer that it is not memorialized.  You can add, change or remove your Legacy Contact at any time.

According to Facebook:

The Legacy Contact will have the power to:

  • Write a pinned post for your profile (ex: to share a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial service)
  • Respond to new friend requests (ex: old friends or family members who weren't yet on Facebook)
  • Update your profile picture and cover photo
  • Delete your account if that is what you wanted.
  • They may also be granted the option to download a copy of what you've shared on Facebook.

The Legacy Contact will NOT have the power to:

  • Log into your account
  • Remove or change past posts, photos and other things shared on your Timeline
  • Read messages you've sent to other friends
  • Remove any of your friends

To add a Legacy Contact:

  • Click  in the top right of Facebook and select Settings
  • In the left menu, click Security
  • Click Legacy Contact
  • Type in a friend's name and click Add
  • Click Message to let your friend know they're now your legacy contact
  • If your account is memorialized, your legacy contact will be notified.

To change or remove a Legacy Contact:

Follow steps 1 – 3 above, then click Remove.  From there, you can add a new legacy contact if you'd like.

Facebook is just one example of the many accounts that may need to be managed or closed when you die.  In this day and age, it is extremely important to account for and discuss incorporating all of your Digital Assets into your estate plan.  Contact us for more information!
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