Why and how to set up a legacy contact on Facebook

By , Oct 31, 2016

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Unfortunately, people pass away every day, and many of those people are Facebook users. With that in mind, Facebook offers a feature for setting up a trusted friend or family member as a ‘legacy contact’ for your Facebook account should you ever pass away.

So how do you set up a legacy contact on Facebook? That’s what we’ll be talking about in this piece.

What is a legacy contact?

Your Facebook account may become “memorialized” after you pass away, which typically happens after a number of friends or family members report your passing to Facebook through a special form. When your account becomes memorialized, it will show the word “Remembering” just before your name on your account.

After this happens, one person you choose will get the keys to certain features of your Facebook account. This person is known as a legacy contact for your account. They won’t have full access to everything, so we’ll be covering what they do and do not have access to below.

You must be at least 18 years old to select a legacy contact for your account. Without a legacy contact, your memorialized account cannot be changed in any way by anyone, ever.

What legacy contacts can and can’t do

So now that you know what a legacy contact is used for, it’s also important to outline what that person can and cannot do after your account has been memorialized (A.K.A., after you pass away):

A Facebook legacy contact can:

  • Change your profile picture
  • Change your cover photo
  • Write a pinned post on your profile
  • Respond to friend requests

Most of these have to do with updating the world of your current status, allowing others to be there for you and your loved ones, and allow others to connect and stay informed of memorial services and more.

Of course, the legacy contact you choose doesn’t have access to everything on your account like you normally would:

A Facebook legacy contact can’t:

  • Read your Facebook Messenger conversations
  • Log into your account
  • Remove or edit existing posts on your profile
  • Delete friends from your account

Essentially, a legacy contact can’t do anything that would be considered destructive to your account, as they can’t take anything away. All they can really do is add things that would build off of your existing profile. These rules are in place out of respect to the person who passed away, who likely had their account set up just the way they wanted it.

How to set a legacy contact on Facebook

Via the website

To set up your legacy contact via the Facebook website, you will have to follow these steps:

1) Click on the drop-down arrow at the top right of the Facebook website and then click on the Settings option:

Facebook Settings Profile Page

2) When the Settings page loads, click on the Security preferences pane on the left side of the page:

Legacy Contact Facebook Settings

3) Click on the Legacy Contact option from the list of options in the menu.

4) This will open the Legacy Contact settings for your account. Enter a friend or family member in the text field, then click the Add button:

Legacy Contact Facebook Form

5) The person will become your legacy contact, and you will now be asked if you want to send the person a message to notify them that you’ve selected them:

Legacy Contact Message

Sending the message isn’t required, but if you do, they will receive a notification that you’ve chosen them as a legacy contact. If you choose not to send a message, then they won’t get a notification that you’ve chosen them as a legacy contact until after your Facebook account has been memorialized.

Via the mobile app

You can also set up a legacy contact from the Facebook mobile app. To do that, follow these steps:

1) Launch the Facebook app on your device and tap on the tab at the bottom far-right of the app.

Facebook App Account Settings

2) Scroll all the way down and tap on the Settings cell.

3) From the pop-up prompt, open the Account Settings option.

4) Tap on the Security cell from the list of settings:

Facebook App Legacy Contact Form

5) Next, tap on the Legacy Contact option near the bottom of the list.

6) Tap on the big blue Choose Legacy Contact button.

7) Now you’re shown a text field. Tap inside of it, then enter a person’s name and tap on them when they pop up.

Facebook App Legacy Contact Selector

8) The person will become your legacy contact, and you will now be asked if you want to send a message to the person to notify them that they’ve been selected as your legacy contact.

Just like before, the message is optional and you can either opt to send the message, or choose the Not Now option to do it later.

Wrapping up

If you don’t trust anyone with your Facebook account following your passing, you can instead set it to be deleted after you pass away from the Legacy Contact settings instead, as you probably saw in the screenshot examples above.

Setting things up for when your time comes isn’t exactly a comfortable or pleasant thought, and honestly, I don’t want to get into the morbid details. But for some, having someone you trust to have your back when you can no longer update your friends and family on Facebook can be a relief.

Also read:

Have you entrusted someone as your legacy contact on Facebook? You can share in the comments below.

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  • queenren

    I never knew something like this existed. Thanks for the info.