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Facebook and Will Writing: Becky Palmer’s Story

In 2010 19-year old Becky Palmer died of a brain tumour. Like many people, Becky loved to share her life on Facebook. As her terminal illness took hold it caused her to lose the ability to speak and move. So Becky used the world’s most popular social network to keep in touch with friends with the help of her mum Louise, with whom she shared everything.

After she sadly passed away Facebook memorialised her account. Although in the US Facebook-users have the option to appoint a relative or friend as their ‘Legacy Contact’ who can take control of parts of their account or alternatively have the account deleted in the UK memorialising accounts is the standard procedure. 

When an account is memorialised, Facebook doesn’t give out the log-in information of the deceased to anyone, including close relatives. This is because their privacy policy forbids them from doing so. The profile will remain to allow grieving family and friends to post photos and comments on their Facebook wall, however it can only be viewed by her existing confirmed friends.

For Becky’s mum, Louise, it was heart-breaking to learn that she would not inherit her daughter’s digital legacy. It would have served as a comfort to Louise to have continued access to her daughter’s Facebook account so that she could reply to the messages grieving friends had sent Becky and not just the posts on her wall.

To save your memories from being locked away from your family within your social media accounts when you pass away you can enlist the help of expert Will Writing Solicitors. With their help you can determine how your digital assets will be passed on. Now more than ever people integrate their lives with their social media and as such more value is attributed to digital assets such as social media and other online profiles.

Without a standard practice there is currently no ‘norm’ as to how digital assets are passed on to heirs. Social media accounts used to share photos can have a huge emotional value, meanwhile established computer games profiles have been known to sell for a lot of money. In order to protect your loved ones you can leave clear instructions with your Will Writing Solicitor as to how you want your digital assets shared or deleted upon death.

To read more about Facebook ‘Legacy Contacts’ read our blog titled Legacy Contact: Determining the Afterlife of your Facebook Account here.

For an initial consultation call Slater and Gordon Will Writing Solicitors on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have 1,450 staff and offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Halifax, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Derby, Cardiff, Newcastle, Wakefield, Merseyside, and meeting rooms in Hull, Yorkshire and in Bramhall, Cheshire.

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