What happens to your email and social media accounts after your death? Who has access to your email and social media accounts? Who do you want to have access to your digital legacy? What is a legacy contact?
Wills and estate planning can be a sensitive topic, but ultimately if one wants their wishes followed, designating legacy contacts is essential to ensure your personal digital information is either maintained or deleted after your passing.
Just as email services, email options and digital media has evolved so has the realization by the social media providers that distinct policies are beneficial for the customer as well as the company. Facebook and Google have made changes in their policies to allow the owner to designate how their accounts should be administrated in the event of death.
Facebook Creates Legacy Contacts
Prior to the change in policy Facebook would freeze the account as it existed as the time of passing. Advertisements are not shown on accounts that were frozen or memorialized as designated by Facebook. It is important to note that designating a Facebook legacy contact is optional. If the option is chosen, the owner sets the features a legacy contact can administer. Currently only one person can be designated a legacy contact who must be a Facebook member.
What Can A Facebook Legacy Contact Do?
- All features are optional and designated by Facebook owner.
- Convert a Facebook page into a memorial page
- Write post to display at top of Facebook profile
- Download archives
- Respond to new friend requests
What Facebook Features A Legacy Contact Cannot Access?
A legacy contact cannot as structured by Facebook:
- Delete the whole account
- Cannot edit content that has been previously posted
- Read messages you sent to other friends
- Post messages as you
If a Facebook legacy contact is not designated on Facebook, but the will contains a digital heir, Facebook will designate the stated digital heir. To access the Facebook legacy contact go to: Settings>Security>Legacy contact and choose the options offered. If the owner of the account desires to have the whole account deleted at death it is important the owner choose that feature.
It is worth noting again that a legacy contact must be a member of Facebook as the rules are currently structured. Many estate or revised estate plans now include digital heirs; it is wise to designate a trusted individual to administer your digital afterlife just as one would do with any asset in an estate plan.
Google Allows Digital Heirs