As financial planners, some of the work we do is related to planning for what happens when you die. It might not be the most cheerful topic, but there’s certainly plenty to think about.
But with so many of us sharing our life with friends and family on Facebook these days, here’s something you might not have thought about: what happens to your Facebook profile if you pass away?
Facebook now allows users to set a legacy contact. These contacts will have access to a person’s memorialised Facebook profile.
What is a memorialised Facebook account?
A memorialised Facebook page is created if a family member or friend submits a request after the account owner has passed away.
Once a Facebook account has been memorialised the word ‘Remembering’ will be shown next to the person’s name. They become places where friends and family can come together to share memories.
Memorialising an account also keeps the account secure and prevents anyone logging into it. It also allows the content shared on the profile to remain visible to friends who it was shared with originally.
What is a legacy contact?
A Legacy contact is the only person who is able to make changes to a memorialised Facebook account. They are selected by you, the Facebook account owner.
If you haven’t set a legacy contact for your profile, your account won’t be actively cared for once it has been memorialised. This means updates won’t be able to be made.
Your selected legacy contact will be able to do things like:
- Pin a post on the person’s profile
- Respond to new friend requests
- Update the profile picture and cover photo
A legacy contact won’t have complete reign of your memorialised account, however. They are not able to:
- Log into the account
- Remove or change past posts and photos
- Read messages
- Remove friends or request new friends
- Add a new legacy contact
If you have elected to allow it, your legacy contact will also be able to download an archive of information that you have shared on your profile. This would allow your family or friends left behind to be able to access and keep photos and posts they want to remember you by.
Included in the download:
- Photos and videos that have been uploaded to the profile.
- Wall posts
- Profile and contact information
- Friends list
The legacy contact will not receive messages, security or settings information in the downloaded archive.
Due to the fact that the legacy contact will be in control of the memorialised page and have access to things like photos, it is important to choose wisely.
How to set a legacy contact
Setting a legacy contact is very simple. It just takes a minute and once it is set up, you don’t need to do anything else.
First go to your Facebook settings.
From there, go into ‘Manage Account’
At this point, you can choose someone from your friends list to be your legacy contact. Simply type in the name of the person you want your legacy contact to be and select them from the list that appears.
Once you have selected the friend you would like to be your legacy contact, Facebook will notify them by email. You also have the option to send your legacy contact a direct message from the manage account page.
It’s always polite to tell them in person too!
I don’t want my page memorialised, are there other options?
For those not so keen on having their Facebook profiles preserved, there is also the option to have your Facebook account permanently deleted once you pass away.
The option for this can be found below the section where a legacy contact is set. Simply click on the ‘request account deletion’ link.
Knowing what to do with a Facebook account once the owner has passed away probably isn’t high up on anyone’s list of priorities. But with so much of our lives recorded on our social media accounts it is always best to have plans in place. It will save family and friends from having to think about something as trivial as social media during such a difficult time.
Now you have decided what to do with your Facebook profile, you should also be sure that you have plans in place for the more important things. Have you thought about estate planning? It is about making a plan that sets out what will happen to your estate once you pass away, making sure it goes to the people you want it to.
Our sister company, Face To Face Estate Planning can help with Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorneys and much more. Visit the website to find out more or get in touch to have a chat with a member of the friendly team.