Almost everyone is using Facebook to connect with their friends these days, but what does this mean for our estate planning? We post a lot of memories on our Facebook accounts -- pictures, notes, photos and other information that loved ones may want to preserve after we are gone. Facebook has recently announced a new feature that addresses this issue by allowing individuals to select a "Legacy Contact" who will have access and control of our personal information after we are gone.
Not Active on All Accounts Yet
The "Legacy Contact" feature is not active and running on all accounts yet, but when it is fully functional, users will be able to name a trusted person as their "Legacy Contact." To do so, users will simply go to their "Settings," select "Security," and then select the option at the end of the list that says, "Legacy Contact." There, Facebook users can name the person who will be in charge of their accounts after they have died, and after proof of death has been submitted to Facebook.
The Legacy Contact feature allows Facebook accounts that belong to deceased persons to be memorialized. The Legacy Contact will have the power to write a note at the top of the person's page in order to share a message or notify friends of memorial services. The Legacy Contact will further have the ability to change the profile picture and/or cover photo. Another option is to give the Legacy Contact the ability to download profile information, photos and posts related to the account in order to preserve them forever.
That said, the Legacy Contact will not receive all the information relating to an account. He or she will not be granted access to past messages and emails sent through Facebook. Individuals can also use the Legacy Contact settings feature to deny access to their account so that no one can view it. Such accounts will be deleted immediately upon the death of the account holder.
Do Not Forget Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan
As we put more and more of our lives and information on the Internet, our digital assets are becoming an important part of the estate planning process. Therefore, anyone who is creating an estate plan or updating their current estate plans will want to include their social media accounts in these plans.
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