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How to set your Facebook account to delete itself after you die

Key Points
  • Facebook lets you turn your profile page into a memorial after you die.
  • You can also opt to have Facebook delete everything once it receives word, and official documents from friends or family, that you've died.
  • The feature is currently being tested with select Facebook users, so not everyone has it yet.
  • Here's how to set up your Facebook account so you have control over what happens after you die.
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean
Dan Sherwood | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Facebook, like Google, has settings that let you delete your account and everything the company has saved on you, like your profile, pictures and posts, after you die. If you don't want to do that, you can also leave your profile page up as a memorial, which will be managed by a designated friend or family member.

You need to configure all this ahead of time. Setting Facebook to delete your stuff after you die is a lot more complicated than deleting Google after you die, but here's what you need to do to get started. The feature is also a test for a select group of Facebook users, so not everyone has it yet.

How to prep a Facebook memorial to yourself
  • Go to Facebook's website.
  • On the right side, tap the down arrow and select "Settings."
  • Click the "Edit" button next to "Memorialization Settings."

Facebook will let you choose someone who will be able to manage your account after you die. According to Facebook, that means they can delete tribute posts, delete you from any posts you're tagged in, respond to new friend requests, change your cover photo and more. All you have to do is enter in your friend's name in the box.

Your friend will receive a note from Facebook that explains what you're doing. "Since you know me well and I trust you, I chose you. Please let me know if you want to talk about this," it says by default. You can change it to say whatever you want.

Your friend can also request to have your Facebook account deleted. Facebook warns that while you can set someone to memorialize your account, it won't share login information even if someone has died. "It's always against Facebook's policies to log into another person's account," Facebook's page says.

How to get Facebook to delete your account after you die
You'll need someone to prove your dead before Facebook deletes your account.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

You can also have Facebook automatically delete your account after you die. Here's how:

  • Tap "Request that your account be deleted after you pass away" from the memorialization settings page.
  • Facebook will ask you to confirm that you want your account deleted after you die, so tap "Delete After Death."

Facebook says someone will need to alert it that you've passed away, however. So, you need to ask a friend or family member to make sure they report to Facebook that you've died. Unlike Google, which can be configured to automatically delete your account if you've been inactive for a certain period of time, Facebook needs someone to reach out.

It takes a bit of legwork.

You need to have someone provide proof of authority, including power of attorney, a birth certificate, last will and testament or an estate letter. You also need to provide proof of death, including an obituary or memorial card, though Facebook says the fastest way is to submit a scan or photo of your loved one's death certificate.

You can do that on Facebook's "Special Request for Medically Incapacitated or Deceased Person's Account " page. Here, you'll:

  • Enter in your full name.
  • Enter in a valid email address.
  • Tell Facebook the full name on the person's account who passed away.
  • Share a link to the person's Facebook profile page.
  • Request what it is you want, such as memorializing the account, deleting it because the owner is deceased, removing it because the owner is medically incapacitated, or any other special request.
  • You'll be asked to upload the required legal and medical documents.
  • Tap "Send."

Once your designated person has contacted Facebook, it says it will delete all of your info, photos and posts permanently and that "no one will be able to see your profile again."

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that some of Facebook's features for users who have died are currently being tested and are not available for everyone yet. The story has also been updated to reflect that an approved contact can ask Facebook to delete an account belonging to someone who has died.

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