Have you ever thought about what you want to happen to your “digital assets,” including your Facebook page, after you pass away?
This is a question that Big Tech giants have spent the past few years grappling with as more and more of our lives are lived online. As such, companies like Facebook have started developing solutions to help account holders more easily “pass on” their digital real estate to loved ones and friends following their death. “Legacy Contacts” is one such feature that permits this to happen on the platform.
Until the creation of the Legacy Contacts, loved ones of the deceased only had two choices to manage an existing Facebook Account:
- Leave it a public wall (that no one had “behind the scenes” access to) where people could continue to post messages; or,
- Request that the page be “memorialized,” which rendered the profile invisible and unsearchable to those who were not already connected with the account.
Now with the Legacy Contact feature, Facebook account owners can name who they want to manage their profile in their absence. This “heir” would immediately have access to friend requests, pictures, and the management of content on the profile page.
Or, for those who want their Facebook account to remain private, the Legacy Contact feature also gives users the option to request a full deletion of their account after death.
How to Add, Change or Remove a Legacy Contact
Facebook offers the following instructions to guide users through the process of naming a Legacy Contact:
- Click in the top right of Facebook.
- Select Settings & Privacy, then click Settings.
- Click Memorialization Settings.
- Type in a friend's name in Choose a friend and click Add.
- To let your friend know they're now your legacy contact, click Send.
To change or remove a legacy contact, follow steps 1–2 above, then click Remove. From there, you can add a new legacy contact if you'd like.
If your account is memorialized, your legacy contact will be notified. Learn more about what a legacy contact can do. Note: You must be 18 or older to select a legacy contact.
Utilizing Legacy Contacts is an easy and straightforward way to let Facebook know how you want your private social media information to be handled after your passing.
Unfortunately, not all digital platforms have similar provisions. In a recent example that garnered national attention, a widow was unable to access her deceased husband’s Apple ID so she could access the apps on their shared iPad. She was told by Apple she would need to produce a court order before they would provide her with the ID.
To help with this, we have included provisions in our client’s estate plans specifically authorizing the family to access and manage digital assets upon their passing. If you are not a current client of the firm and would like to make it as easy and inexpensive as possible for your family to manage your assets, including your digital assets, in the event something happened to you, please contact our will and trust lawyers at 888-719-5589 to schedule an appointment.