Facebook offers a feature that will allow a designated person to have increased access to a Facebook account when its owner passes away. Facebook realizes there is a growing need to support those who are grieving the loss of a loved one and those who want a say in what happens to their account after death.
Facebook responded by launching a feature called: "Legacy Contact." This feature may help your loved ones through the grieving process in the event of your death and allows you to designate what will happen with your account upon passing.
If you are a Facebook user, you may want to go into your account now and designate your Legacy Contact to manage your account when you pass away. Here is how it works when someone passes away:
- A friend or family members lets Facebook know by submitting a Memorialization Request here: https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/651319028315841
- Once Facebook memorializes the account, the Legacy Contact can:
- Write a post to display at the top of the memorialized Timeline (for example, to announce a memorial service or share a special message)
- Respond to new friend requests from family members and friends who were not yet connected on Facebook
- Update the profile picture and cover photo
You also may designate whether your Legacy Contact can download an archive of your social posts. Alternatively, you can tell Facebook that you prefer to have your account deleted upon your death.
For specific instructions about how to name a Legacy Contact, visit Facebook's newsroom at: http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2015/02/adding-a-legacy-contact/
Of course, many state legislatures are currently wrestling with how to handle digital accounts after the user passes away.
Consequently, this issue might eventually be taken out of Facebook's hands entirely. Until then, contact an experienced estate planning attorney to help you make arrangements for your “digital assets” pending future legislation.
For additional information on estate planning and digital asset planning in Houston, please click here to visit my website.
Reference: Facebook Newsroom (February 12, 2015) "Adding a Legacy Contact"