Facebook’s New Legacy Contact

February 27, 2015
Lindsay M. Schoeneberger

You may have read our blog posts about Death in the Digital Age and Emailing after Death.  Facebook has certainly established a reputation for making changes, sometimes in response to user concerns.  This issue is no exception and Facebook has decided to join the digital death bandwagon.  It has added a new feature which allows you to designate what they are calling a “legacy contact” to manage your account posthumously.

Don’t panic about allowing someone access to all of your private messages or the ability to post as you.  The legacy contact you designate will only have limited access to your account for things like updating your profile picture or responding to new friend requests.  Or, if you don’t want your Facebook page to live on after you, there is an option to delete your account entirely.  While this all may sound rather morbid, as technology becomes more and more integrated into our regular daily activities, planning ahead for what happens to those accounts is important.  If you do not choose between a legacy contact and deleting your account, Facebook will simply freeze your account if they discover you have died.  However, this new option allows you to control what happens to your account.

If you have chosen to designate a legacy contact, you should inform them just as you would inform your designated agent named on your Power of Attorney and the Executor or Executrix named in your will.  Also, be sure to discuss your wishes for the account.

Lindsay Schoeneberger is an attorney at Russell, Krafft and Gruber, LLP in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She received her law degree from Widener University School of Law and practices in a variety of areas, including Estate Planning.