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Nothing's certain in life except death and taxes. And while tax season rolls around at the same time without fail, you can't foresee when you'll pass. Much of our time is spent online, and planning for what happens to your online accounts after your death is a thoughtful gesture for your loved ones. It makes it easier for them to sort through things while dealing with grief.

Many prominent tech companies have policies to deal with the accounts of those who have passed away. As for Facebook, the app has an option to close or memorialize an account after its owner dies. If you choose to memorialize your account after death, add a legacy contact who can take control of the account after you die.

Whether you use Facebook on an Android phone, a desktop PC, or one of the best Chromebooks, you can add a legacy contact from the mobile app or any web browser.

What is a Facebook legacy contact?

Facebook lets you nominate a family member or close friend as a legacy contact, but they must be friends with you on Facebook. When someone informs Facebook that you have passed away, Facebook memorializes the account, and the appointed legacy account is given limited access to your account.

The legacy contact can manage tribute posts on your profile, update your profile picture and cover photo, and respond to new friend requests. The legacy contact can't log in and post as the deceased person or view their messages.

You must be at least 18 years old to select a legacy contact for your Facebook account.

What happens to a memorialized account on Facebook?

After the account holder's passing, the Facebook account is transformed into a memorial page where friends and family can reminisce and share their memories. The memorialized account displays the word "Remembering" next to the deceased person's name and profile picture.

Posts and photos the user shares remain on Facebook and can be viewed by the audience it was initially shared with. Memorialized profiles don't appear in the suggestions for people you may know or birthday reminders. Facebook doesn't allow anyone to log in to a memorialized Facebook account.

We use an Android smartphone for this tutorial. The steps are the same for desktop PC and iOS users.

How to add a legacy contact on Facebook

Follow these steps to memorialize your Facebook account and add a legacy contact.

  1. On the Facebook mobile app, tap the hamburger menu in the upper-right corner of the screen. On the browser, select your profile picture in the upper-right corner.
  2. Scroll down and tap Settings & privacy.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Under Accounts Center, tap See more in Accounts Center.
  5. Select Personal details.
  6. Tap Account ownership and control.
  7. Select Memorialization.
  8. Select your Facebook account.
  9. Choose Memorialize account and tap Next.
  10. Add a trusted Facebook friend as a legacy contact.
  11. If you want your legacy contact to download your data archive, choose Give [legacy contact] permission. Otherwise, select Do not give [legacy contact] permission. Tap Save.
  12. You can also send a message to your legacy contact via Facebook Messenger by typing a message and clicking Send. If you don't want to send a message, select Skip.

If you don't want to add a Facebook legacy contact, choose the Delete your account after death option under the Memorialization section in Settings. This deletes your Facebook account after you pass away.

How to change a legacy contact on Facebook

If you change your mind about a legacy contact, you can change it from Facebook's Settings page.

  1. On the Facebook mobile app, tap the hamburger menu in the upper-right corner of the screen. Scroll down and tap Settings & privacy. On the browser, select your profile picture.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select See more in Accounts Center.
  4. Select Personal details.
  5. Choose Account ownership and control.
  6. Select Memorialization.
  7. Select your Facebook account.
  8. Tap the legacy contact.
  9. Facebook asks if you want to change your legacy contact. Select Continue.
  10. Type your Facebook friend's name to add the new legacy contact.

What legacy contacts can and can't do with your Facebook account after you pass away

Legacy contacts can manage your Facebook profile after it is memorialized. They can also write a pinned post, respond to new friend requests, remove tags, and change the deceased user's profile picture and cover photo.

On the flip side, legacy contacts can't log in to the memorialized Facebook account. Also, they can't read messages, edit or remove original posts, make new friend requests, or remove friends.

What happens if you don't add a legacy contact?

After you pass away, your friends and family can fill out a form to request memorialization. The details required while filling out the form include the deceased user's Facebook profile link and proof of death, such as an obituary, death certificate, or memorial card. If you don't add a legacy contact on Facebook, your account cannot be managed by anyone.

Facebook also offers an option to remove the account. Loved ones can request the removal of the deceased person's Facebook account by filling out a form. Facebook requires proof of death before submitting the request.

Control what happens to your Facebook profile after you pass away

Although death is inevitable, it can be an uncomfortable subject for many. Considering how much time we spend online and how much of our data is on the internet, it's best to conquer that squeamishness and decide how you want your accounts to be handled after you pass away.

Facebook has a good system for handling your account after your passing. You can either nominate a legacy contact to manage your profile after it is memorialized or have your account permanently deleted. But if you want to take a break from the platform, it's a good idea to deactivate Facebook temporarily or try out alternative social media apps.