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The 5 questions you should ask before choosing your Facebook heir

Tombstones in Resurrection Cemeteryin Madison, Wisconsin

Who should manage your digital existence after death? Here’s how to pick.

Your Facebook page is the headquarters of your digital identity. It’s got everything from your day-to-day musings and favorite bands to your anniversaries, contact info, and relationship history. It’s a wealth of information that you and you alone have the keys to, but if the unthinkable were to happen, you need to be sure you leave a “spare key” of sorts with the right person.

Today, Facebook finally gave us the ability to designate someone as our posthumous digital caretaker—a person called a legacy contact, who can access your account to change a few key details, manage friends, and turn it into a memorial of sorts—but actually choosing someone to keep your virtual remains in order isn’t easy. Here are the most important questions you need to ask yourself before choosing a loved one to bear the responsibility.

1) Will they actually do it? 

This is the most important thing to consider. Don’t bother with anyone who you think will be too distracted or grief-stricken to take the time to update your Facebook with a pleasant message and details of any memorial or remembrance that might be taking place. It should be a friend or family member who you trust to keep their wits about them, should the worst occur.

2) Are they tech-savvy? 

Your first choice to maintain your account after your passing might not be your best bet, especially if they’re not great with a computer. If you’ve had to help them understand what a “desktop” is or remove a dozen obnoxious toolbars from their browser in the past, it’s probably a good idea to pick someone who knows how to better handle all this newfangled technology.

3) Are they Internet-accident prone? 

If they have a habit of clicking on spam links and getting their Facebook account hijacked by bots once a month, it’s probably not a good idea to give them more responsibility. As your legacy contact, they’ll be able to change your profile images and post notifications to your timeline, and if there’s one thing that you don’t want showing up on your account after you pass, it’s a link for free trial samples of Viagra.

4) Will they have a little too much fun with it? 

Your Facebook page should remain a pleasant place to visit in the event of your passing, but picking a college buddy or your BFF could turn it into an ever-lasting pit of shame. You don’t want your last profile image to be you shotgunning a beer at a tailgate party or snapping a duckface selfie at the mall, so avoid anyone who might not realize that how they want to remember you isn’t how you actually should be remembered.

5) Will they even accept the offer? 

Talking about managing your Facebook page after your death is awkward, but do you know what’s even more awkward? Asking someone to do it and then having them decline. Pick someone who has a strong sense of responsibility and who you can count on no matter what. You don’t want a friendship to be forever tainted by their denial of your offer, so be positive you’re going to get a “yes” in return beforehand.

In the end, this handful of gut checks will give your Facebook page the best chance of becoming a pleasant digital memorial of your life. Managing your social networks after your passing isn’t the most important thing in the world, but as our lives become more and more digital, it’s nice to have this little matter taken care of. 

Photo via Richard Hurd / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Mike Wehner

Mike Wehner

Mike Wehner is a former tech editor for the Daily Dot who now writes for BGR. His work has appeared everywhere from Yahoo to CNN, and there’s a good chance his Apple Watch is dead right now.