Tech Savvy: How to memorialize a Facebook page after a loved one dies

There are options to memorialize or delete an account after a death. And for those still living, Facebook recommends using settings to choose what happens to a profile after death.

Facebook photo posts
With so many moments and milestones now collected via social media, a question can be what happens to all of that when a person dies. There are options for friends and family to memorialize or delete an account after a death. And for those still living, Facebook has settings where people can choose what happens to their profile after they die.
Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — When a loved one dies, little things can mean a lot — photos, memories, moments.

And these days, keeping those memories alive is likely to involve social media. For many, those milestone moments shared with the people that mean the most are found in online posts and become part of their social media profile. So how is that handled after a death, especially one that is unexpected? There are options for friends and family to memorialize or delete an account after a death. And for those still living, Facebook has settings where people can choose what happens to their profile after they die. The option is there to set up a legacy contact to manage their profile if they do want it to continue as a memorialized account.

“Memorialized accounts are a place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away,” Facebook reports at its help center. “Memorializing an account also helps keep it secure by preventing anyone from logging into it.”

Steps to memorialize an account

There is an online form to memorialize an account at that is short and simple. To memorialize a Facebook account, the company requires contact information about the person requesting it and the Facebook profile URL link from the deceased. There is a special request form online if people have trouble with this URL step.

Next, the form requires the date the person died and documentation of death. The documentation can come in the form of an obituary, death certificate, memorial card or other documentation to confirm the death, Facebook states. The confirmation may be uploaded as a scan of a document, photo or a screenshot and attached to the form. The email address of the person requesting the memorialization is also required.


Then hit send.

Once processed and set up, the loved one’s Facebook account will have the word “Remembering” added next to their name on their profile. Facebook states, depending on profile settings, friends can still share memories on a memorialized timeline. The posts and photos the loved one shared on their profile remain visible to the audience they determined to share them with. Birthday reminders and suggestions for them as people to connect with will stop.

Facebook notes another way to go is to create a group on Facebook to share memories of the loved one.

Removing a Facebook account

Friends or family can also request a Facebook account be removed after a death. The easiest option is to have a death certificate. Without that, options to show authority with the account include proof of a power of attorney, last will and testament, estate letter or a birth certificate (if the deceased is a minor).

Then Facebook will need an obituary or memorial card to provide proof of the death.

Facebook advises covering up other personal information the company doesn’t need to prove the person is deceased, like the Social Security number, when sending a scan or photo to them.

The online form requires the name and email of the person making the request, the URL link to the deceased person’s profile and the email that may have been used to create the Facebook account. Then there are options to memorialize the account, remove it because of death or medical incapacitation, or to note a special request.


Setting up your account to be managed after your death

In Facebook settings, under settings and privacy, people can choose to have an account deleted after they die.

“You can choose to have your account permanently deleted should you pass away,” Facebook states. “This means that when someone lets us know that you’ve passed away, all of your messages, photos, posts, comments, reactions and info will be immediately and permanently removed from Facebook. Your main profile and any additional Facebook profiles will also be deleted.”

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There is also the option to create a legacy contact, something Facebook strongly recommends for the living.

Facebook outlines the procedure with these instructions :

  • From your main profile, click your profile photo in the top right of Facebook.
  • Select Settings & Privacy, then click Settings.
  • Below General Profile Settings, click Memorialization Settings.
  • Type in a friend's name in Choose a friend and click Add.
  • To let your friend know they're now your legacy contact, click Send.

If you need to change or delete your legacy contact, repeat the first three steps and then click “remove.” Legacy contacts need to be at least 18 years old.

Legacy contacts

A legacy contact can manage a memorialized profile , add pinned posts, change profile and cover photos, and respond to new friend requests. To do all of this, click on “manage” on the bottom right of the cover photo.

Legacy contacts can’t remove or edit previous posts, remove friends, read messages or log into the memorialized account, Facebook states.

A legacy contact can be added to a memorialized account after a person dies but that is a little more complicated. The contact must have been a Facebook friend, a will must name the individual as one who has control over the account, or a court order is needed.


Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or . Follow on Twitter at @DispatchBizBuzz .

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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