Congratulations to Facebook for introducing a system to allow some management of a person’s Facebook account after the person’s death.

Information, records, communications, photographs and other details which are stored digitally with various internet based organisations can be difficult to deal with upon the death of an account holder.  Many organisations are grappling with methods of dealing with the problem or simply ignoring it.

Facebook now allows account holders to have their account deleted after they die or they can appoint a Legacy Contact to manage the account after they die.

The Legacy Contact can write a post to display at the top of the memorialised timeline, can respond to new friend requests from family members and friends who are unaware of the death and can update the profile picture and cover photo. 

The Legacy Contact may, with permission from Facebook, also download and archive photos, posts and profile information from the deceased’s Facebook.

The Legacy Contact concept was introduced by Facebook in the USA in February this year and became an option for Australian account holders on 13 May.

Let’s hope that other organisations holding digitally stored materials follow Facebook’s lead if they have not already implemented appropriate procedures.

As a safeguard we recommend that a person making a will provide a specific authority in the will to the executor to deal with keepers of digitally stored information, records, photographs and communications.

For more information or to update your will contact:

Justin Hartnett
Harwood Andrews
T: 03 5225 5220

Andrew Robson
Harwood Andrews Ballarat
T: 03 5329 6920

Jenny Orchard
Harwood Andrews Bendigo
T: 03 5430 3801