Facebook legacy: what happens after death?

Year Published: 2015

The importance of considering your digital legacy continues to grow as more and more individuals increase their online presence in both financial and personal aspects.

Reflecting this, Facebook has recently introduced the option of appointing a ‘Legacy Contact’. This is someone who you nominate to look after your Facebook account after your death.

Vanessa Callison-Burch, Product Manager at Facebook states that “Facebook is a place to share and connect with friends and family. When a person passes away, their account can become a memorial of their life, friendships and experiences.” It seems that Facebook have given some thought to how their accounts should be dealt with and to ensure that they have provided options for their users. If it is that the account is to remain as a memoralized account, the word “remembering” will appear above the name of the account.

Sarah Pull, Associate in the Trusts team at SAS Daniels explains the facebook legacy contact

Sarah Pull, Associate in the Trusts team.

The Facebook legacy contact will not have full control over your account but will be able to write a pinned post for your profile (e.g. to provide information about a memorial service), respond to new friend requests and update your profile picture and cover photo. The legacy contact will also be able to download a copy of what has been shared on Facebook in the past. The nominated individual will not be able to change anything else on the account and so all photos uploaded in your lifetime will continue to be there. All messages will remain private as Facebook felt it was important that these remain confidential, even after death.

If you would prefer the option for your account to be closed you can instruct that the account is permanently deleted from Facebook within the settings on your Facebook account.

With more than 1.49 billion users, Facebook is one of the most successful social media sites and it is positive to see how they have considered the importance of giving users the option to leave the online “legacy” that they wish to leave after their death. This brings the position more in line with other aspects of an individual’s ability to choose who they would like to entrust with ensuring that their legacy, be it financial or personal, is how they wish. Read more about leaving an online legacy in our previous blog, ‘Your online legacy’.

We would advise all our clients to consider what they want to happen after their death. Without these considerations you can’t ensure that your family is provided for, in the way you wish. A member of our Wills & Wealth Planning and Estate Administration teams will be happy to advise you on all matters, online or off.

For more information on what happens to your legacy both online and offline or any other personal law matters, please contact Sarah Pull in our Trusts team on 0161 475 7689.

You can read more about how to set your Facebook legacy in the telegraphs online article.

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