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What Happens to my Facebook Account when I Die?

The average Facebook user has, at least, a few ‘friends’ who aren’t really friends at all.

You know what I’m talking about. I mean, who has 756 friends anyhow?! You can spot those Facebook friends/not-friends by how they respond on a Facebook account of a friend who has passed away! “Happy Birthday, Fred, have a wonderful day🎁” is usually a cheerful message, but on that occasion, I cringe!

If you have seen that and wondered what happens to your Facebook account when you die, read on. Facebook calls it a Legacy Contact, and I’ll show you how to create one with step by step, with screenshots, to help you along the way.
It’s a bit different on PC and mobile. But the general steps are close enough for you to follow along. Bear in mind too, that Facebook makes changes and updates all the time!

Legacy Contacts have restricted permissions to manage Memorialised Facebook Accounts. So, the first step is to request Facebook to memorialise the profile of the deceased Facebook profile owner.

Memorialising a Facebook Account

To request a Facebook profile be memorialised by Facebook, message them here. That process may take a while so you will need to be patient until Facebook has memorialised the account.

What is a Legacy Contact and what can they do?

A Legacy Contact is a close friend or family member who can make decisions about your Facebook profile after you die and your Facebook profile is memorialised. Facebook memorialises accounts of deceased profiles, by request.

Legacy Contacts are able to:

  • Write a pinned post (that means it stays at the top of your time line) on a memorialised profile. If there is no legacy contact, the account of a deceased Facebook account holder can be memorialised but nobody is able to edit it.
  • View posts and change who can see posts you are tagged in.
  • Decide who can see, and who can post, tributes. Delete tribute posts.
  • Remove tags of you that somebody else has posted.
  • Respond to requests from new friends – only if you were added as a legacy contact before they passed away.
  • Update your profile picture and cover photo.
  • Request the removal of your Facebook account
  • Download a copy of what you have shared on Facebook – only if permissions have been given. See point #12, below.

Legacy Contacts are not able to:

  • Log into your account.
  • Read your messages.
  • Remove existing friends or make new ones.

How to set up a Legacy Contact on Facebook

These screenshots are from the Facebook mobile app:

1. Click the menu

Click your profile picture to open the menu, with options for you to choose from.

Click the cog icon for settings

2. Click settings

The cog icon will show you the settings options.

Personal information in the menu

3. Personal information

Click on Personal Information under ‘Account’

Manage Account under General

4. Manage account

Click on ‘Manage account’ under General, you will see it says legacy contact and deactivation settings.

Choose a family member

5. Legacy Contact

Click Legacy Contact to select the person who will manage your Facebook account after you die.

Facebook Legacy contact - choose your contact

6. Select your option

You don’t have to choose a legacy contact, the other option is to have Facebook delete your account after you die. Here you will select your legacy contact and Facebook will email them to let them know you have chosen them. You might want to give them a heads-up!

Go ahead and click Choose Legacy Contact

A list of what legacy contacts are able to do

7. Read the list

Read these points, they are letting you know what your legacy contact will have permission to do with your Facebook account.

Click Next.

Choose your legacy contact

8. Choose your contact

Start typing your friend’s name and Facebook will show the list as you type. Click on your choice and confirm to add them as your legacy contact.

Message your legacy contact

9. Message your contact

Next, you want to let them know. Facebook will make a generic message, which you can change if you wish.

Click Send.

Your Facebook legacy contact

10. Your Legacy Contact

After you send the message, your Legacy Contact will be shown.

You’re not done yet. Keep going. Click their name…

Note the Account – Deactivate at the bottom is for your entire Facebook account. You will be asked to confirm if you click it instead.

Set permissions

11. Set permissions

Note the small print, your chosen legacy contact does not have permission to download a copy of your Facebook posts. You need to set those, if you are giving permission. Click the little right arrow.

Allow permission

12. Allow, or not

Select whether you give permission for this. Or not.


I am a Legacy Contact, what now?

So you have the lofty responsibility of managing a memorialised Facebook profile. How do you get started?

  • Go to the memorialised profile
  • On the bottom right of the cover photo, click Manage
  • The menu on the left will give you options to add a pinned post, respond to a new friend request or change the profile, or cover, photo.
  • If you choose to have the account deactivated and closed, click here to request that from Facebook.

And there you have it, your Legacy Contact for when you kick the bucket! No embarrassing messages from your not-actual-friends!

Stylus scratching out the word Facebook

Plan your social media’s future like you plan your own.

Because nobody lives forever! 😕

In the next blog, I will show you How to Tighten your Facebook Security. With cloned accounts and hackers getting more intrusive by the day, one cannot be too careful. Facebook gives us the tools, but it’s not always clear how to use them or what they mean.

Digitally Done, giving you back a little bit of control!

We’re all for saying thank you:

‘Banner’ Photo by Gabby Orcutt on Unsplash

‘Facebook’ Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels