UPDATE: Since this was first written, Facebook has changed it’s process for creating Business Pages. An updated article on this topic can be found at “What Happens to Your Company’s Facebook Page When You Die?”
If your business is on Facebook, you may wonder what happens to your Facebook page in the event of your death. To ensure someone you choose can take it over, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got your legacy contact set up for your personal page and another administrator set up for your business fan page.
Legacy contacts allow people with personal Facebook accounts to designate someone they choose to manage their account after they pass away. But Facebook also offers business fan pages. So what happens to those pages if you pass away? You probably don’t want your business page to expire with you.
Let’s start with the basics. How did you initially set up your account? In all likelihood, you simply connected your business fan page to your personal page. Facebook has a strong preference for connecting business pages to personal pages, even though the two appear as separate on Facebook. But if you don’t have a personal account, Facebook allows you to create a free standing business page (although not optimal due to limitation discussed below).
Personal Facebook accounts holders can decide how they want their pages to be handled when they die from among three options: memorialized accounts, adding legacy contacts, and account deletion. Memorialized accounts place the word “remembering” next to the person’s name on their profile page. This allows friends and family to continue to share memories, and the page remains visible to its audience.
A memorialized account may be used alone or may be combined with a legacy contact. The legacy contact must be named by the account holder before death. The account holder sets the legacy contact’s authority, including things such as dealing with and making posts, reading messages, and responding to friend requests. The third option is account deletion. Again, this option must be chosen by the account holder prior to death.
If you also set up a business/fan page from your personal account, then you can and should designate another account administrator that has the same rights as you to the business/fan page so that it can be continued. They would sign in through their Facebook account to manage it allowing it to continue after your passing. Be careful, however, to only add people you trust as admins as any admin can remove any other admin, even you as the owner of the page.
If, on the other hand, you didn’t have a personal Facebook account and instead created a freestanding business page, you were initially prompted to choose additional account administrators who would also have right’s to handle that account. However, most people do not use freestanding business pages for two big reasons. First, Facebook does not allow someone with a personal account to create a freestanding business account. And second, freestanding business accounts are much more limited in their customizability of pages.
Even if you have dealt with your personal estate planning, it’s critical – if you are a business owner – to also make plans for your business.
Facebook is just one of the many things to plan for, and if you have not considered comprehensive business succession planning, contact us, we can help.
To continue to serve your customers (or to notify them properly in the event of your death) could make or break your company’s goodwill with your customer base and mean the difference between continued income or a huge liability for your loved ones.