Will your Facebook account haunt your loved ones after you’re gone? Without proper planning, your post-mortem Facebook presence can haunt the loved ones you leave behind, with harmful results.
If you’re active on social media, Facebook is probably a big part of your life. Does social media seem trivial to you? If you think about it, your Facebook account is basically a virtual diary of your daily life, making it a key part of your legacy—and one you’ll likely want to protect.
Since about 8,000 Facebook users die every day, the company has created a few options for dealing with your account once you’re gone. While it’s possible for you to take care of this on your own, many people are working with legal professionals like us to incorporate these digital assets into their overall estate plan to ensure their legacy is properly preserved and protected.
Here are your options:
Unless Facebook is notified of your death, it assumes you’re still alive, and your profile remains active indefinitely. While this might not seem like a big deal, your profile will continue to be included in Facebook searches, “People You May Know” suggestions, and birthday reminders.
Your friends and family likely won’t want to be constantly reminded of your absence, and even worse, ex-friends and/or trolls will be able to post potentially hurtful messages on your timeline.
Delete the account.
In your settings, notify Facebook that you’d like to have your account permanently removed from its servers upon your passing. Alternatively, a friend, family member, or your executor can make the same request after your death. This will completely delete your profile and all of its associated content from Facebook for good.
Also, one of these individuals can request that your account’s content be downloaded and saved before the profile is deleted. Content that’s eligible for download includes wall posts, photos, videos, profile info, events, and your friend list. But Facebook won’t allow any third-party to access or download your personal messages or login information.
Memorialize the account.
Facebook lets you designate a family member or friend as a “legacy contact” to manage your memorialized account. This contact will be allowed to pin a final message to the top of your timeline, announcing your death or providing funeral information. The contact can also respond to new friend requests and update your cover and profile photos. The legacy contact won’t be able to log in as you or see any of your private messages.
Preserve your legacy.
Since social media and other digital property are such an important part of your life, you should work with us as to ensure that these assets are protected by your overall estate plan. We can help you name a digital executor, who can quickly and easily manage your Facebook account and other social media upon your death. We can also help you inventory all of your other digital assets and make certain they pass to your loved ones seamlessly.
Furthermore, through our Family Wealth Legacy Interviews, we allow you to create a customized recording, sharing your values, stories, and life lessons with the loved ones you leave behind. Our estate plans include a Family Wealth Legacy Interview component. That’s because your estate planning is about more than just your STUFF. It’s also about your real wealth: your values, your insights and your experiences. Contact us today to learn more.
This article is a service of the Law Firm of Myrna Serrano Setty, P.A. We don’t just draft documents, we help you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a 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 at (813) 514-2946 to schedule a Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $500 session at no charge.