Florida users of social media may be interested to learn about the new legacy contact feature Facebook recently rolled out. Following years of criticism from family members about their inability to access deceased loved ones’ accounts, Facebook has developed a feature that allows those with a profile to designate someone who can control the account after the owner’s death.
Upon death, the legacy contact is able to download an archive of the deceased person’s profile and photos. He or she is not able to log in to the account, however. The legacy contact will be able to post messages, accept or deny friend requests and update the profile and cover photo. Legacy contacts are not able to access and read the deceased person’s private messages.
Previously, Facebook memorialized deceased account holders’ accounts. This meant that people could view the profile but could not access it. Since many people keep personal photos on their pages, family members were upset because they were unable to access the photos and other mementos of their loved one. Account holders can find the new feature in the security tab, where they can designate a legacy contact person or instead opt to have their account destroyed upon their death.
Facebook’s new feature points to the importance of considering digital assets when people are engaged in estate planning. In today’s world, more and more people conduct a significant amount of business and personal interaction solely online. Such features as Ebay, Paypal, online banking, social media and other password-protected online accounts may be beyond the reach of family members otherwise. People may thus want to talk about including digital information and access rights with their estate planning attorneys.