Have you appointed your Facebook heir?

The fate of your on line life after your death is hot topic here at Future Legal Services. We are finding that we are advising more and more clients on the best ways that they can protect their digital assets.

So, we were interested to read recently that Facebook are rolling out their Legacy contact functionality for UK users. You can now appoint, in effect, a Facebook ‘executor’ who will decide what will happen to your account when you die.

In the past you could advise Facebook in advance whether you’d like to have your account memorialised or permanently deleted from Facebook. If you opted to have your page memorialised your content will stay visible, posts, photographs etc… and your friends and family will be able to share posts with your page but, essentially your accounts would remain ‘frozen. However, you can now appoint a legacy contact who, following your passing, will be able to take control of certain things…

What a legacy contact can do:

  • Write a pinned post for your profile (ex: to share a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial service)
  • Respond to new friend requests (ex: old friends or family members who weren’t yet on Facebook)
  • Update your profile picture and cover photo

What a legacy contact CAN’T do:

  • Log into your account
  • Remove or change past posts, photos and other things shared on your Timeline
  • Read messages you’ve sent to other friends
  • Remove any of your friends

Like many other social media platforms Facebook is trying to find a way to respect the wishes of the deceased while being sensitive to their families… as explained by Vanessa Callison-Burch, product manager at Facebook “Facebook is a place to share and connect with friends and family. For many of us, it’s also a place to remember and honour those we’ve lost, when a person passes away, their account can become a memorial of their life, friendships and experiences.”

In this digital age it is now imperative that you leave clear instructions about what should happen to your social media, computer games and all other online accounts after your death. Please speak to the Future Legal Services team to discuss how you can leave a ‘Digital Legacy’ today on 01322 664 885 or email us here.

Recommended Posts