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Facebook Allows Users to Create Digital Will

What happens to a Facebook profile once someone dies? How can people grieve and memorialize the deceased through social media? Should family members or friends have access to the deceased's online profile at all? Facebook is trying to find answers to some of these tough questions by offering a new service called the "Legacy Contact."

This new feature allows users to determine how their Facebook page will be managed upon their death. Users can pre-select a friend ("executor") with authority to pin posts on their Timeline, respond to new friend requests, and update a profile and cover photo. Users have the option to allow their legacy contact to download posts, photos, video and personal information. This authority does not extend to logging into the deceased's account, removing or changing previous posts from their Timeline, or seeing any messages sent to other friends.

Users can also elect not to create a legacy contact, but rather, designate that their Facebook page be permanently deleted after they pass away. Allowing users to manage their profiles upon death is a great step toward recognizing the value of personal online data and with the legacy contact, giving loved ones a chance to recapture memories and pay tribute with family and friends. Designate your wishes today under your profile's security settings.

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  • Richard P. Johnson is Board certified Texas Board of Legal Specialization Estate Planning And Probate
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