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How to appoint an online executor

9 November 2016

Planning for later life should be carefully considered when making a will. From creating a trust, donating to a charity or leaving conditional gifts.

There is now even more to consider due to the increase in social sharing online and posting your day’s activities to family and friends.

We are forever updating our Facebook settings to ensure our profile is not shared publically but you may not have noticed a setting titled legacy contact. Introduced in 2015, Facebook allow you to add a contact who will manage your account when you pass away, this contact is known as an online executor.

An executor is normally appointed as they understand the demands of the role and are able to fulfil your wishes from the outset. It is important to consider the importance of the role that an online executor has, because of this, Facebook has only allowed users over the age of 18 to appoint a legacy contact.

Your legacy contact will be able to download a copy of everything that you have shared on Facebook, alongside:

  •  Writing a pinned post for your profile – your legacy contact could write a final message on your behalf or provide information about a memorial service;
  • respond to new friend requests; and
  •  update your profile picture and cover photo.

Facebook have made people aware that these settings could change and they may decide to add additional features in the future, so it may be something you choose to review regularly.

Your legacy contact cannot:

  • Log into your account;
  • remove or change past posts, photos and other things that have been shared on your timeline;
  • read your messages; or
  • remove any of your friends.

The second option that you have is to have your account permanently deleted after you have passed away.

If you wish to decide on either of the two options, you will need to:

  • Log in to your Facebook account
  • click on the arrow in the top right corner
  • select settings
  • click on security
  • click on edit on the right of Legacy Contact
  • follow the instructions on the webpage

At this point, you can choose to select a friend or request account deletion.

At Myers & Co Solicitors based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, our wills and probate solicitors can help you to ensure that every eventuality is carefully considered and provided for and we pride ourselves with giving you the time, support and guidance to ensure your wishes are followed.  To find out more, contact our wills and probate solicitors or call 01782 577000.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only.  They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice, and the law may have changed since this article was published.  Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.


Stephen Myers

DDI: 01782 525007

E: stephen.myers@myerssolicitors.co.uk