Whether you share posts on Facebook often, periodically, or not at all, you may wonder what happens to your account after you die.
Will it exist forever and ultimately cause confusion? Whose responsibility is it, if anyone’s, to notify your network and the world that you’re no longer living?
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with Memorialization
- Step 2: Go to Memorialization Settings in Settings
- Step 3: Choose a Legacy Contact (or Become One)
- Step 4: Clean Up the Account
- Step 5: Serve as Legacy Contact
- Requesting Memorialization on Behalf of Someone Else
- Choosing to Delete a Facebook Account
- Can You Un-Memorialize a Facebook Account?
Memorializing a Facebook account is a way to keep your account active after you die. Instead of your Facebook name as is, memorialization changes it to read “Remembering” plus your name. The name change makes it clear that you have passed to your Facebook friends and anyone searching for you.
Tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, figuring out social media accounts and other aspects of handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
Once a Facebook account has been memorialized, it will not come up in ads, in suggested friends for “People You May Know”, or birthday notifications.
Keep in mind that it’s not possible to un-memorialize an account, which we describe in further detail later.
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Under the “Settings” tab on Facebook, you will find “Memorialization Settings.”
In this section, you can familiarize yourself with memorialization, read frequently asked questions, and appoint a legacy contact. You can read more about how to create and update a legacy contact on Facebook in our guide.
A legacy contact will not have total autonomy over your page’s content. A legacy contact is sort of an administrator to help other friends and loved ones keep your memory alive.
You may appoint someone on your friend list as a legacy contact at any time. They’ll be notified that you chose them. It’s not currently possible to add someone as a legacy contact if you aren’t friends on Facebook.
What if you’re chosen as a legacy contact and don’t want to be one? Send your friend a message or talk to them in person. The two of you can come up with another friend capable of being a legacy contact or another solution.
You may already audit your social media accounts and check your friend list from time to time. Or you may choose to clean up your Facebook account as a precaution or “just in case.” If you’re not already doing this, try to block out time for an annual or semi-annual cleanup.
You can also help out a parent or older relative who may be less familiar with social media.
During the cleanup process, you can add or remove friends, delete photos or pictures, and edit personal details. It’s also a good time to choose a legacy contact if you have not already.
What if you want to remove something from an account that is already memorialized? You can remove certain content, but content that violates Facebook’s community standards.
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If you’re a legacy contact and accept this responsibility, what can you do when someone dies? As a legacy contact, you’re able to:
- Change the person's profile picture and cover photo.
- Write a pinned post on the timeline.
- Respond to new friend requests.
- Change who can see and who can post tributes. Tributes are posts that add to the memorial of the person.
- Delete tribute posts.
- Change who can see posts that your loved one is tagged in.
- Remove tags of your loved one which someone else has posted.
- If the account holder turned on timeline review, the legacy contact will be able to turn off the requirement to review posts and tags before they appear in the tributes section.
If you notice a deceased friend or a loved one’s account is still active and hasn't been memorialized, you can make a request. Facebook won’t share the account login details with you, but they can add you as a legacy contact upon request.
How is this done? First, you’ll have to submit proof that the person passed away.
If you choose to submit such a request, make sure that you also reach out to the person’s next of kin, if possible, to make sure that you’re the appropriate choice. Family members may wish to have the person’s account deleted instead, and it’s best to honor these wishes.
When you pass away, you can opt for having your account automatically deleted. Instead of a page, your friends and family can instead create their own group to share memories.
If you’re managing an account as a legacy contact and it becomes overwhelming, or there is some other reason you wish to delete an account, you can do so. You’ll have to contact Facebook and submit proof of your authority and relationship to the person, as well as an obituary or memorial letter about the person.
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If for some reason your account or a loved one’s has been memorialized on accident, you should contact Facebook, first and foremost. Once an account has been memorialized, it is not typical to reverse this action unless there's a good reason. Due to heightened security and privacy measures, account hacking is less likely than before.
After all, Facebook doesn’t even provide legacy contacts with the login info of the deceased person. If you want to share your Facebook password with a loved one after you die, we recommend using a password manager.
Facebook is One Piece of Your Online Legacy
A memorialized Facebook account is just one part of an online legacy. It’s likely that Google searches will yield other details about any person’s life.
If you choose to memorialize a Facebook account, it may give you peace of mind to create a space for those in your network. They will likely have an easier time staying in touch, keeping the memory of the deceased alive, and leaning on one another in times of sorrow.
Choosing to delete your account or a loved one’s instead is fine, too. Perhaps you found another solution for an online memorial, or don’t see the need for one. Memories of the deceased can live on just as vividly online as they can in the hearts and minds of those who love them.
Before you memorialize or delete a loved one's account, you may want to consider preserving their digital photos. Read our guide on how to download all Facebook photos for more.
- “Memorialized Accounts.” Facebook Help Center. https://www.facebook.com/help/1506822589577997