FAQs About Estate Planning

What Will Happen To Your Facebook Account When You Die?

by Rania Combs

FacebookA friend from college died suddenly a couple of years ago. She was a healthy person, but contracted the flu and died from complications from it.

A couple of months later, I received Facebook reminder that it was her birthday. Had I not been aware of her death, I may have absentmindedly sent an online birthday wish, which may have been upsetting to her family members.

In the past, the only options available to families of a deceased user were memorializing the account, permanently deleting it, or allowing it to remain active.

To delete or memorialize an account, Facebook requires proof that the user has actually died. When a user’s Facebook page is memorialized, all sensitive information is removed from the profile, such as the deceased user’s contact information and addresses. The ability to post status updates is also disabled.

If Facebook is not notified that the user has died, a deceased user’s account will remain active. This would cause the deceased user’s page to appear in public spaces, such as suggestions for “People You May Know,” advertisements, or birthday reminders, like my friend’s page.

Now Facebook users have another choice.

Facebook recently instituted a new feature called a “legacy contract,” which allows users to control their Facebook pages after they die. Rather than relying on family members to choose whether to delete or memorialize their Facebook page, users can now make that choice.

Those who choose to memorialize their page can appoint a friend or family member to manage their account. The person they appoint will be able to pin posts to their page, respond to friend requests, and control the profile and header image on the account. They will also be able to download a copy of everything the deceased user has shared on Facebook.

In addition, Facebook will include the word “Remembering” next to the deceased user’s name to make it clear that the page is a memorial page. Memorialized pages will not appear in public spaces or birthday reminders. In addition, memorialized pages with one administrator can request that Facebook remove the page.

You can find out more about Facebook’s new legacy contact by clicking on the link.

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

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  1. steven wales

    February 24, 2015 at 10:01pm

    I’ve just read through all the “Wacky Will” posts. Nice collection (I wish there were more!). I am an attorney teaching an Energy Law to undergrads at UH Downtown. Next week we will begin discussing wills and estates, and I can’t wait to share a few of these crazy stories.


  2. Facebook’s New Legacy Contact | The Law Office of David McDaniel

    February 28, 2015 at 6:31pm

    […] recently came across a post about a Facebook feature that allows a user to designate an account manager to manage the content […]