Facebook and the Digital Estate

Facebook – part of your Digital Estate

As part of the digital estate, Facebook is becoming increasingly important as more and more people are leaving a substantial online legacy, some of which is very valuable from a personal or financial viewpoint.

Digital Estate – storing the details.

Facebook part of the digital estate
Facebook part of the digital estate

Will Custodian Ltds’ Peace of Mind Service offers you the option of storing such information with your Will so you executors have straightforward access. They don’t – for obvious reasons – store access details to bank accounts etc but you can at least point your executors at the correct bank and account name. Just as your Will and other Legal Planning needs regular updating, so does you list of online assets.

Linkedin here.

Digital Estate – Facebook and photos

Gone are the old family photograph albums, replace by digital photographs hosted in the cloud (online) such as Facebook or on local computers or hard drives. These are not assets you would wish to be deleted without considerable thought as they are irreplaceable parts of family history. Facebook is currently the most common online photo album, but there are hundreds.

What to do with a Facebook account after death

Facebook offers three options for the account of a deceased person:
1. Downloading the contents – for which they require a Court order – presumably a Grant of Probate would be acceptable.
2. Memorialise the account which effectively means it stays online in a less active format.
3. Deleting the account is an option for the executor, and close family members but it may, like option 1, mean that a Grant of Probate is needed where that would not have been the case otherwise. We would caution executors about the final nature of deleting an account when other family members may wish to have copies of photos: deletion could well be the provocation needed for an expensive Court battle, so we would strongly suggest memorialisation or at least downloading the contents so it can be made privately available to family members.

The relevant Facebook page for special requests from family members.
Facebook Memorialisation and other options.

How to appoint a Facebook “Executor” or Legacy Contact.

You can add, change or remove your legacy contact in your account’s Security Settings at any time.

To add a legacy contact:

  1. Click in the top right of Facebook and select Settings
  2. In the left menu, click Security
  3. Click Legacy Contact
  4. Type in a friend’s name and click Add
  5. Click Message to let your friend know they’re now your legacy contact

If your account is memorialized, your legacy contact will be notified. Learn more about what a legacy contact can do.

To change or remove a legacy contact, follow steps 1 – 3 above, then click Remove. From there, you can add a new legacy contact if you’d like.

Note: You must be 18 or older to select a legacy contact.

Just in case they update the procedure, this is the Facebook page.