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Facebook creates new feature to help with your estate planning

Most New York residents are using Facebook these days, but did you know that Facebook can also be incorporated into your estate planning? One of the easiest things you can do is simply provide your login details to a trusted family member so that your family can have access to your Facebook account after you are gone, but Facebook has also designed a new feature you will soon be able to use called "Legacy Contact."

The feature does not appear to be up and running yet for everyone, but you can check to see if it is activated in your account by selecting "Settings," then "Security," and looking for the "Legacy Contact" option at the bottom of the list.

The Legacy Contact feature allows you to select a trusted friend or family member who will have access to manage your Facebook account in the event of your death. When Facebook is notified that your are deceased, your Facebook account will be memorialized and your legacy contact will have the ability to change several things about your account.

Your legacy contact will be able to write a post on your timeline to announce a memorial service or share some kind of special message. The person will also be able to approve of new friend requests and update the cover photo and profile picture associated with the account. Finally, you can provide your legacy contact with the ability to download all of the profile information, posts and photos in your Facebook account.

Still, some privacy will remain. For example, your legacy contact will not be permitted to view your past message histories. Also, for those who prefer it, they can make their legacy settings result in the complete deletion of their accounts at the time of death.

As we become more of a digital society, New York residents will want to include their digital assets in their estate planning. Making plans for your Facebook account and other social media accounts is something that every estate planner should have on his or her estate planning "to-do" list.

Source: Facebook, "Adding a Legacy Contact," Vanessa Callison-Burch, Jasmine Probst and Mark Govea, May. 06, 2015

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