I doubt that any client has ever asked me about who will handle their non-financial online accounts after they pass away. However, it is a real question and concern. Wouldn't you like to designate now who will be able to manage your social media accounts after you die? Facebook led the charge in this endeavor a couple of months ago. As you'll see, their approach is not perfect, but it's a start.
A legacy contact will not have the ability to access, delete, or add to your account in any way in which they choose. In fact, there are very limited allowances for a Legacy Contact. First, before a Legacy Contact is allowed to do anything, your account must be memorialized, which will freeze all actions on your account except what the Legacy Contact has the ability to do.
A Legacy Contact can do:
- Write a "pinned post" for your profile. This would share a final message and/or funeral information.
- Respond to pending friend requests.
- Update your profile picture and/or cover picture.
Like I said, the powers of a Legacy Contact are limited, but useful. Your Legacy Contact cannot delete those embarrassing pictures so you still need to be careful what is posted. Here is a list that Facebook supplies of what
A Legacy Contact cannot do:
- Log into your account
- Read messages you've sent to other friends
- Remove any of your friends.
- Remove or change past posts, photos and other things shared on your Timeline
Another important note is that you must be an adult (at least 18 years old) to designate a Legacy Contact under Facebook's current policies. To See Facebook's Instructions on Legacy Contacts Click Here
We have yet to see if other social media outlets (Twitter, Instagram, etc.) will accept similar policies. Even though Instagram is owned by Facebook, it also does not seem as though this policy applies to Instagram. Currently, Instagram and Twitter have relatively cumbersome processes to prove the death of an account user in order to delete the account. However, the process is purposefully cumbersome to prevent account tampering.
Although we do not know what other social media sites will do, it is quite likely that Facebook has set a trend in this direction.
There are many considerations for Planning Your Estate and new digital issues such as these are just another layer. Taking care of legal issues can ensure your wishes are met after your death and will help your loved ones tremendously during those difficult times. Our team can guide you through the process and help secure your peace of mind.
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