Beginning this week, Facebook users can access a new feature in the site’s security settings called Facebook Legacy that lets them choose either to delete their account if they die or designate it to an heir.
“If someone chooses, they may give their legacy contact permission to download an archive of the photos, posts and profile information they shared on Facebook. Other settings will remain the same as before the account was memorialized,” Facebook wrote in a blog post announcing the feature. “The legacy contact will not be able to log in as the person who passed away or see that person’s private messages.”
To choose a “Legacy Contact” for your Facebook page, click the down arrow in the top right corner and then click the Settings link. From there, make sure you are on the ‘General’ tab selected on the left and then click the ‘Manage Account’ section at the bottom of the page. Here you can choose your designated profile page heir, send them an optional message and grant them permissions for your content.
If you prefer not to have a Legacy Contact, then you can choose to have your account deleted after you pass away.
While it’s morbid to think about, this feature is undeniably useful — and could prevent ugly battles in the future between Facebook and relatives of a deceased user over who owns and controls a page. Ultimately, it’s better to leave your Facebook profile with a loved one than it is to leave it in the hands of Facebook.