What Happens To Your Facebook Account When You Pass?

[Transcription]

Hi there, Bridget Mackay with the Law Offices of Bridget Mackay. I’m an attorney in Petaluma, California. I practice in the area of estate planning and elder law.

Today, I want to talk to you about what happens to your Facebook profile when you die. There are over 1 billion people that are now using Facebook. And, I have a statistic that 30 million of those profiles are actually profiles of folks that have passed away. And, as of November 2017, 10,000 a day of Facebook profiles are of people that have passed away.

So, what does happen to that profile when you pass away? And there’s actually three things that can go down. One is, you can request, or your heirs can request it to be memorialized, your account. Which means that it basically kind of shuts down to any administration on the account and allows people to still look at the pictures, post memorial tributes. You can like those tributes, you can respond to it. And, I see that a lot.

The other is to delete the account altogether. And, your representatives or your heirs would need to put a request in, a special request into Facebook to do that.

And, then finally, you can also download and then delete it. And that also requires a special request, which brings me to my next point. Who is that responsible person for choosing one of those three avenues to deal with your Facebook profile? And Facebook has a process by which they authorize people to do that. It’s your legal representative, so make sure that your person who is named is your trustee in your trust also has the power to manage your social media in your digitized assets. If that provision is not in the trust, Facebook will not recognize them. Or, you have to verify that you’re an heir. So, in other words you’re going to have to send in copies of the death certificate, birth certificates and show that familial relation. Because, they will also take direction once they determine and verify that you are an heir, kin to the person who’s passed away. Then, they will also be able to do that for you.

One app that nobody else has, it’s the first and only that Facebook has is, that I recommend looking at, is called If I Die. And actually, that’s a place where you now as you’re alive can say what you want on your page after you pass away. You can videotape a final message. It has all of these different ways in which you can control your Facebook profile.

So, Facebook has come a long way in the last 10 years regarding folks have passed away and how they deal with that information. So, I encourage you to check it out. If you have questions about your own trust and what it provides for in that way, see your attorney or go to an experienced estate planning attorney.

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