Digitally stored information, including records, communications, photographs and other details which are held with various internet-based organisations can be difficult to deal with when the account holder dies. Many organisations are grappling with methods of dealing with the problem or simply ignoring it.
Facebook is giving users more control over their social networking afterlives with a “Legacy Contact” setting. This allows account holders to have their account deleted after they die or alternatively appoint a Legacy Contact to manage the account.
The Legacy Contact can write a post to display at the top of the memorialised timeline, respond to new friend requests from family and friends who may not be aware of the death, and update the profile picture and cover photo.
With permission from Facebook, the Legacy Contact may also download and archive photos, posts and profile information from the deceased person’s Facebook account.
The Legacy Contact concept was introduced in the USA in February this year, and became available for Australian account holders on 13 May.
We recommend that when making a will, consider providing a specific authority to the executor to deal with keepers of digitally stored information, records, photographs and communications.
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