What Happens to Your Facebook Account When You Pass?

Written by Andrew Savage

Ordinarily, when you pass and your Will instructions are being followed, digital assets have not been mentioned. So, what are digital assets? These are personal accounts with technology and social media services, such as a Facebook account or an Apple account. In our experience at Caritas, the handling of these assets can often be the cause of problems when winding up a recently passed person’s estate, due to disagreements about who should be in charge of which digital assets. With Facebook’s new legacy contact feature, it is easier to authorise someone handle your account. Caritas can help you with this and to ensure the rest of your digital assets are considered.

What Is the Legacy Contact Feature?

The legacy contact feature recently implemented by Facebook allows for a trusted person (the legacy contact) to be left in charge of someone’s account after they pass. It is helpful in allowing your family to be able to remember you in the way they see fit. When properly organised, there are certain things a legacy contact can and cannot do:

Can

  • Write a pinned post sharing a final message on your behalf or providing information about a memorial service.
  • Update your profile picture and cover photo.
  • Request the removal of your account from Facebook.
  • Download a copy of what you have shared on Facebook, if you have that specific feature turned on.

Cannot

  • Fully login and to the your account.
  • Read any messages you may have or receive.
  • Remove any of your friends or make new ones.

A key point to be noted is that the selected legacy contact must be eighteen or over.

How Can Caritas Help?

In order to make the organisation of all of your assets – including digital – as smooth as possible, Caritas are more than capable in advising and assisting you. It will ensure that your wishes are adhered to and that the person you have chosen has proper authority. We pride ourselves in providing a respectful and friendly service when dealing with the passing of a loved one. While we accept it will be a difficult time, we are committed to helping your family remember you in the exact way you would prefer.

We would fervently recommend any clients (potential or existing) have a think about the handling of their digital assets as part of their future planning, and consider either refreshing their Will or having one prepared.

If you require any assistance or advice in relation to handling digital assets, your Will or indeed Power of Attorney please contact our office on 01383 431 101 or info@caritaslegal.co.uk to arrange an appointment with one of our solicitors.

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