Choosing a legacy friend

DSC00180 Google’s Inactivity Manager was launched only two years ago, yet it seems to have triggered a fast forward button making us all the more aware of the need to protect and ensure the succession of our digital assets. Facebook recently stepped in and seem to be keen to take on the mantel of caring for our digital assets with the launch of their Facebook legacy. Contacts are able to manage accounts in a way that can turn the deceased person’s Facebook page into a kind of digital gravestone. Legacy contacts can write a post to display at the top of their friend’s memorialised profile page, change the friend’s profile picture, and even respond to new friend requests on behalf of the deceased. Being a legacy contact is different from simply logging into the account of the deceased, and there are important things legacy contacts can’t alter. They can’t edit what the deceased has already posted, or what his or her friends post on the page. In effect Facebook’s legacy contact is generating a new role for friends to accept and it should not be taken lightly. Given Facebook’s role in so many peoples lives, choosing a legacy contact looks set to be as important as selecting an executor. In fact it could be argued that the role may be more emotionally demanding and may even go on for much longer. Tying this into your estate no longer seems as far fetched as it once used to either. It does raise a number of salient questions too – first of which is why maintain a social network after death? As it turns out, research has confirmed that managing a loved-one’s social media site is a good way of coming to terms with their death. Yet this does bring forth the next question which is who to choose? Unlike selecting an executor for a Will who is generally speaking assisted by a solicitor, being a legacy contact is a whole new role which will no doubt throw up some unexpected issues as it becomes embedded into our digital culture. There will be those who may feel hurt they have not been picked, parents who may feel overlooked if a friend is selected, not to mention the thorny issue of how well everyone feels the appointed legacy contact is undertaking their role. It is early days, so no doubt these issues will get ironed out as they occur, but in the meantime we should all give careful consideration to who we would like to appoint to take on this role and then we need to consider all our other digital assets and decide how best to pass these along too! one thing is for sure, we need to manage all our digital assets as soon as possible, check out how Planned Departure can help you do this…

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