Facebook legacy access could help bring will-making to the masses

By 16th March 2015 Probate, Wills No Comments

It has been revealed that Facebook is adding a new feature that means you can grant ‘legacy access’ to your account, so that when you die, loved ones can take control of your online profile.

Once Facebook has been informed of your death, it will allow the chosen contact to perform certain actions, such as set up an online memorial page, download your account archive (but not your private messages), or simply delete your account.

It’s only been rolled out in the US so far, but is likely to head around the rest of the world once the introduction has been deemed successful.

It’s an interesting feature because it’s essentially a ‘will’ for the social media generation, and it is absolutely to be welcomed if it means more people will start to think about what will happen when they die.

Far too many people fail to make a will because they think it’s just something for the elderly or the rich. But, really, every adult should have one, especially if they are in a long-term relationship and/or own a home.

Let’s be clear: death is, of course, a sensitive, upsetting subject, and as a friendly, approachable law firm we understand the importance of handling these matters delicately. But death absolutely shouldn’t be a taboo issue, or something that we avoid because of a feeling of awkwardness.

There are two reasons why people avoid making wills: because it’s a morbid subject, and nobody likes to be reminded of their own mortality. That, and they think it’s going to be expensive.

Firstly, in most cases, making a will is much cheaper than you might expect. We can offer an affordable will-making service that will absolutely be worth doing in the long-run.

Sadly, there’s nothing we can do about anyone’s mortality – but we can help to make sure that, if the worst happens, your loved ones will be protected in the way you would wish.

This is particularly important because there are a lot of urban myths and misnomers around will making.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is believing that there is such a thing as ‘common law’ – that after six months of living with somebody, that you are ‘common law partners’. As far as the actual law is concerned, ‘common law’ really means very little. That means that your long-term partner might not automatically receive what you would expect and hope they would.

The best course of action is to talk to an expert, who will be able to remove any doubt and address any concerns you may have.

  • If you want an impartial, free discussion about making a will, feel free to drop into the DMA Law Link in Darlington town centre.