Summary: When someone passes away, it can be difficult to decide what to do with their Facebook account. The social media platform is now offering memorial accounts, legacy contacts, and other specialty settings.
When someone near you passes away, social media accounts are not the first thing that comes to mind. But soon enough, the issue will present itself. It can be difficult to decide what to do with a loved one’s Facebook account, but luckily there are several options. And like most things, it is easier if the decision is made prior to death rather than leaving grief-stricken friends and relatives to decide.
Originally there wasn’t much of a choice. Accounts of deceased users were deleted if they were brought to Facebook’s attention. Now, however, Facebook is offering the relatively new option of a memorial account. You can choose in your own Facebook settings whether you want your account to be deleted or memorialized upon your passing.
A memorial account allows friends to continue to share on the timeline, but won’t bring the account up in public places like birthday reminders or suggestions of people you may know. The content of the account will still be visible with the same privacy settings it had before, however, no one can log in and change the account.
Another option, if you are choosing a memorial account for yourself, is to designate a Legacy Contact. Once again, you have the option to designate your Legacy Contact in the settings. The Legacy Contact will basically be the administrator of your memorial account. He or she can write a pinned post for the account, such as a final message or memorial information; respond to friend requests; and update the profile picture and cover picture. The Legacy Contact cannot log in in the traditional sense, change any past posts or photos, read private messages or remove any friends.
If someone has passed away but not designated what happens with the account, you can contact Facebook and request that the account is memorialized or deleted.
Another good way to remember someone is to create a private group where you can share pictures and memories with other people who knew the deceased. This has the advantage that anyone, not just close family, can do it.
A last option, if you know the person’s password, is to just continue to log in to the account as if the person were still alive. This can also be used to download any information that you would like to keep from the account. One of the biggest downsides of this is that people may receive somewhat macabre reminders of birthdays and other events for the deceased, which is likely to be upsetting.
The moral of the story, like most stories, is to plan ahead. Adjust your Facebook settings according to your preferences. Let whoever you choose as your Legacy Contact know that. And, if you desire, give your password to that person. (Always keep in mind the need for security with passwords and log in information if you choose to do this.)
Facebook is always evolving and with the number of people worldwide who have accounts, the memorial account option was an excellent idea.
See an update involving Facebook’s Legacy Contact here. If you have additional questions about estate planning or probate, you can contact Siedentopf Law at (404) 736-6066 or via our form on estatelawatlanta.
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