If you are a Facebook user, it can provide an intimate look into your life over time. It can also serve as a key part of your legacy and is an asset you’ll likely want to protect after your death. With this in mind, as with any other of your digital assets, you should include your Facebook account as part of your estate plan.
Facebook also offers a special function, known as a “legacy contact,” for others to manage your profile after your death. Once you set up a legacy contact, you can choose someone to look after your account after you have passed on.
If you are interested in preserving your digital legacy using Facebook’s legacy contact, here we’ll break down the basics of how this function works. To learn more about how to protect and pass on your digital assets, give us a call at 517-388-6800 or email Nick at [email protected]
How To Manage Your Digital Afterlife
After you die, Facebook allows your account to be “memorialized,” so friends and family can share memories of you and your life. To start this process and have your account memorialized, Facebook requires proof to be provided of the account holder’s death using a special request form. Facebook also requires evidence of death, for example, an obituary. Facebook accounts can be memorialized even if the user has not named a legacy contact.
Once your account is memorialized, only confirmed friends can see your profile or will be able to find it in a search on Facebook. Your profile will no longer appear in friend suggestions and no one will receive birthday updates or any other account notifications regarding your profile.
Also, when your account is memorialized, the word “Remembering” is added next to your profile name. Depending on what privacy settings you have selected, your friends and family members can post content and share memories on your timeline. A memorialized account is locked, which means the content can no longer be altered or deleted, even if someone has access to your login and password.
What Can Your Legacy Contact Do?
If you’ve selected someone to be your legacy contact, once your account is memorialized, that individual will be able to manage your Facebook account based on the permissions you’ve granted to them. As with any other individual that you choose to manage your assets after you die, you’ll want to carefully consider who to name as your legacy contact. This person will have control over your memorialized Facebook account, which means they’ll be able to control your legacy to some extent.
Your Facebook legacy contact can perform several functions, including:
● Create a pinned post on your profile to share a final message on your behalf or to provide information to your friends about your memorial service.
● View posts, even if your privacy settings were set to “Only Me.”
● Select who can see and who can post a tribute to your memorialized profile.
● Delete tribute posts.
● Modify who can see posts that you’re tagged in.
● Remove tags of you on posts made by others.
● Respond to new friend requests.
● Update profile picture and cover photo.
● Request that your account be removed from Facebook altogether.
● Download a copy of all data that you’ve shared on Facebook, if you have this feature turned on.
What Can’t Your Legacy Contact Do?
It’s important to note the limitations of the legacy contact. They don’t have unlimited control over your account. For instance, your legacy contact can’t take the following actions on your Facebook account:
● Log into your account as you.
● Read any of your direct messages.
● Remove any friends or make any new friend requests.
If you don’t want your Facebook account to continue after your death, you can choose to have your account permanently deleted after your death. For instructions and more information on choosing your legacy contact, check out Facebook’s Help Center FAQs.
You Must Preserve Your Digital Assets
Since social media and other digital assets play such a big role in our lives, it is very imporatnt to make sure that all of your digital property is protected by your estate plan. As a Michigan Estate Planning law firm located in Lansing, we will assist you to inventory your digital assets and include instructions on how you want them handled, so at the time of your death they can pass seamlessly to your loved ones.
What’s more, we can also help you name a digital executor, who is the person that will be in charge of managing your digital assets at your death. Doing so will help you protect your legacy and can make what you created available for your heirs for generations to come. Contact us today to learn more.
This article is a service of Nick Leydorf, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
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