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Serving Dorset for over 100 years


One of the things that many family members overlook when preparing for the death of a loved one is setting up a legacy contact or legacy passport. Nowadays, many people have valuable pictures, videos, and music. And in some cases, important documents are stored on their online profiles and devices. Due to the safety measures often put in place by device manufacturers and social media platforms, it is worth ensuring that you have taken the proper steps to gain access if a loved one passes away.

As a local family funeral director, we understand that the passing of a loved one is very overwhelming. That’s why we are here to offer advice and bereavement support to those who need it. While there is a lot to think about after someone has passed away, there are a few simple steps you can take. These will help to ensure you have access to all your loved one’s profiles.

What happens to someone’s online accounts when they die?

When someone dies there are a few options of what you can do with their accounts. Some people choose to simply leave the account as it is. Another option is closing the account. Often, family members feel this is the most respectful thing to do when a loved one passes away. The process of closing an account will vary depending on the social media site. There are some social media sites that will let you set up a legacy passport, while others will require certain information to close an account. Social media sites that do not have a legacy contact functionality will ask you to provide account details. This can include proof of your identity as well as a death certificate.

Most social media sites will also allow users to memorialise an account. This means that the account will remain active, allowing people to view photos and memories. Memorialising an account will also make it clear that a person has died. Certain functionalities will be removed such as birthday notifications. As with deleting an account, the legacy contact must be the one to make these changes.

What is a legacy contact and how do I set it up?

A legacy contact is a nominated person that can access someone’s digital profiles and devices after they have died. It has become more common for social media sites to allow this type of access to prevent families from getting locked out of their loved one’s accounts. Facebook has great functionality for creating a legacy passport and memorialising an account. Simply go to Facebook settings, select ‘legacy contact’, and follow the on-screen instructions. This feature on Facebook means the nominated person can post on a loved one’s timeline and access photos and memories. However, the person will not be able to see any personal messages.

Setting up a legacy passport on your phone is equally important. Apple phones have very robust security features. So without someone’s Apple ID password, it is nearly impossible to access their device. In your Apple ID account in the settings app, you can nominate legacy contacts to give family members easy access to your digital information.

If you have any questions about legacy passports or what to do when someone dies, then do not hesitate to get in touch. If you are struggling with the death of a loved one, then we also provide bereavement support groups and counselling in Dorset. Contact your nearest local branch today for further advice and support.