Facebook! With users easily surpassing 1,000,000,000, Facebook is arguably the most common social media platform. However, what happens to your Facebook page when you pass away? Who has access to your profile upon your death? Can you have your account deleted upon your passing?
Each person has their own Facebook page, right? The whole point of Facebook is you can make that page your own and post, share, like, whatever you want. However, when “you” are no longer available to take care of your page, what happens to it? Surprising to many, access to one’s Facebook profile can become highly restricted after a person passes away, even if that person is a mother trying to access her deceased daughter’s account. http://thehill.com/policy/technology/335759-german-court-rejects-mothers-request-to-access-deceased-daughters-facebook
As the desire for greater access to decedents’ accounts grow, Facebook has come up with several different options for accessing a decedent’s page.
One of the most common means is the legacy contact. Each person can designate one of their Facebook “friends” to serve as their “legacy contact” after they pass away. This individual has the authority to write posts on their wall, post articles (e.g. an obituary), and even shut down their Facebook page. This process can work great if you have a desire to notify distant relatives/friends of your passing when most of your communication is through social media. As social media becomes the norm for notification about such events, the legacy contact option is becoming more and more popular. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/02/12/facebook-policy-change-allows-one-final-post-after-death/23184757/
Another option is to have Facebook simply delete your profile upon your passing. This option is great for the individual who simply wishes their online persona to die with them. No exposure of past messages or lingering digital presence. Instead, your Facebook profile is simply deleted after Facebook is notified of your passing.
A final option utilized by some, but certainly not condoned by Facebook, involves sharing your username and password with a trusted person and informing them to login as you after your passing and shut down your profile. While this may be the simplest option, sharing username and passwords is a risky proposition, indeed!
While Facebook is just one electronic provider, there is no denying that online accounts are becoming more pervasive. And while Facebook is just one example, with online banking, automatic billing, etc. all becoming much more commonplace, knowing how your online accounts will be addressed are a top priority to ensure an easy and smooth process for the loved ones you leave behind!
If you’d like to ensure that you maximize the resources available to your loved ones and keep your family out of Court and out of conflict, schedule a Family Life and Legacy Planning Session.™ We can review your existing plan and help you make adjustments that will help you achieve your goals.
This article is a service of The Estate Planning Group and Davidson Law Office, LLP, your Life & Legacy Planning Lawyers, who believe in developing trusting relationships with families for life. 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.