Your Will

Facebook Launches “Legacy Contacts”

Facebook has begun rolling out new legacy settings that will allow a user to select a person to manage their account after they die.

Facebook has begun rolling out new legacy settings that will allow a user to select a person to manage their account after they die.

“We appoint an executor to manage our estate after death, now we can effectively appoint an executor for our Facebook page too,” Tindall Gask Bentley lawyer Sarah Mitchell said.

“Many of us invest a huge amount of time into our Facebook presence, it can be deeply personal and hold significant sentimental value, through the words, photos and many milestones that are shared.

“This is a significant step by Facebook to make managing pages after death easier for loved ones.”

Digital estate planning, Facebook

Previously, friends could notify Facebook of a person’s death and their page would be “memorialised”.

Now new security settings, available initially in the US, allow a nominated “legacy contact” to make an announcement about memorial services, respond to friend requests, update profile photos, download a file with the person’s shared content or delete the account.

Legacy contacts won’t be able to view messages or edit and delete content.

Digital estate planning, Facebook's legacy contact

Sarah Mitchell, who specialises in estate planning at law firm Tindall Gask Bentley, said the move demonstrates the growing importance of “digital estate planning”.

“In this age we have all accrued many digital possessions, and the value can be more than sentimental,” Ms Mitchell said.

“It could be a professional website or blog that has a monetary value, or cloud storage holding important documents and contracts.

“When writing your Will and planning for your estate, we strongly recommend that you consider your digital life as well.”

Read Facebook’s announcement here.

Tindall Gask Bentley is a leading Australian estate planning law firm. To arrange an appointment contact your nearest TGB office or start your Will here.

On August 1, 2017, the Relationships Register commenced in South Australia, giving greater legal recognition to LGBTQI and de facto relationships. To find out how the Register impacts your will click here.

Images courtesy of Facebook.