Have you ever had the birthday of someone who has passed away show up on your birthday list on Facebook? It’s happened several times to me after friends pass away unexpectedly. That reminder of what should have been a happy occasion can feel like a gut-punch when Facebook reminds you that they are no longer with you.
Facebook has added several features that allow for someone else to memorialize your account or delete it all together should you pass away. Although a Facebook account is not going to be a priority for you as you deal with the death, it is something you should deal with as soon as you can. Memorializing the Facebook account of someone who has passed away keeps it from being taken over by hackers or defaced in any way.
What Happens When a Facebook Profile Is Memorialized
When someone memorializes a Facebook account for another person, the account locks so that no one can log into it. This means that no one can change the settings of the account, or add or remove friends from the list, and none of the already existing content can be removed or altered in any way.
Depending on the settings determined by the person memorializing the account, people may still be able to post to the account’s timeline. This setting allows friends of the deceased to write tributes or other messages on their timeline. It also makes it possible for everyone who could see the account’s posts, comments, likes and photos before to continue seeing them.
When other people access the deceased’s profile, they will see the word Remembering next to the person’s name.
Best of all, in my opinion, the account’s owner will no longer show up in “People You May Know” or in birthday reminders.
Creating a Legacy Contact
You can make dealing with your Facebook account easy for your loved ones by designating a legacy contact. A legacy contact is someone you name that can care for your account after your death. Appointing someone you trust to manage your account gives them easy access to your account.
It is a good idea to set a legacy contact because if you don’t have one, no one will be able to access the page again after someone memorializes it. Facebook will not give out any login information to anyone. Naming someone as the legacy contact allows them to make the necessary changes in your place.
Here are the steps for completing this.
1. Log in to your Facebook account.
2. Click the down arrow found at the far-right of the blue bar near the top of the window.
3. Choose Settings from the drop-down menu.
4. Click on “Manage Account.”
5. Type the name of the person you want as your legacy contact into the text box, then click Add.
6. If you wish to have Facebook delete your account after your death, click the “Request account deletion” link.
If you want more information on what a legacy contact can or cannot do after your death, read this description from Facebook.
How to Memorialize an Account
If your loved one did not name a legacy contact before their death, you can still memorialize their account. Prepare to prove to Facebook that you are an immediate family member or executor with the authority to do so. Also, have access to the death certificate or another form of proof of death in case they ask for it.
Here are the steps for memorializing the profile.
1. Visit this page that Facebook created to memorialize accounts for those who have passed away or are medically incapacitated.
2. Give Facebook your name and email address they can use to contact you.
3. Provide the name of the person who has passed away. Then give the address of their profile page and the email address used to create the account.
4. Choose from the displayed options to memorialize or delete the account as you see fit.
It’s best for all involved if you set a legacy contact in your Facebook page settings. Your loved one will have one less thing to worry about. However, if you’d like to memorialize the account of someone, I hope these steps will make it easier.