If you’re a Facebook user, the chances are you’ll have come across a still-active account of someone who has passed away.

Anyone who uses the social media site has the option to make their account ‘memorialised’ after they die, which means that it will remain active so their friends can continue to leave posts in tribute on their wall.

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Users also have the option to provide the site with a legacy contact – but what exactly does that mean, and how do you do it?

What is a memorialised Facebook account?

According to Facebook, memorialised accounts “are a place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away”.

Should an account be memorialised after death, the word ‘Remembering’ will be shown next to the person’s name in their profile, and content they shared in their lifetime will still be visible to friends. Additionally, friends can still share thoughts and memories on the memorialised timeline.

It’s Facebook’s general policy to memorialise accounts, so if you know of someone who has passed away, you can contact the site here and request that this happens.

The only person who can manage a memorialised account is a legacy contact, who must have been selected by the account holder.

What exactly is a legacy contact?

A legacy contact is a family member or friend you choose to look after your account if you die and it becomes memorialised.

Your legacy contact will have the option to leave a pinned post on your profile (assuming your privacy settings allow this); respond to new friend requests from family members new to Facebook; update the profile and picture on the account; and request removal of the account from Facebook if and when it is appropriate.

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Go to the top right of your Facebook page, click the drop down arrow and select Settings. Then click on General in the left hand navigation, then on the edit button next to Manage Account. This will give you the option to select or change your legacy contact – though you must be 18 years or over to do so.

Can your legacy contact do anything they want with your account?

No. They don’t receive your security information and can’t log into your account. They can’t remove or change old posts, photos or anything else shared on your timeline, and they can’t read your messages or remove your friends.

A legacy contact is chosen by the account holder, so it's not possible to add a legacy contact to an account that has already been memorialised.

What if I don’t want a memorialised account or a legacy contact?

You can choose to have your account permanently deleted after your death. Once again, click the drop down arrow and select Settings. Then click on General in the left hand navigation, then on the Edit button next to Manage Account.

Then simply click on Request account deletion and your Facebook profile will be deleted when you pass away.

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