How to Close a Facebook Account After Death

What Happens to a Facebook Account when Someone Dies?

I have three friends on Facebook who are deceased. Every so often, I see someone who doesn't know this post something on their wall. The surviving family members have to see that post and get that email saying there's a new comment on their wall. Two of my friends have their pages up still as a memorial, run by their families. One of them, however, has no idea how to get into the account.

Do you know what to do with the online accounts of a loved one after they die? Do you have the information necessary for a loved one of yours to close your accounts after you die? Many of us live a 'second life' online, with real friends, friendships, information, groups and more that would miss us if we suddenly disappeared. It's important to let online groups know when someone has passed away.

How to Close a Facebook Account When Someone Dies

If someone close to you dies, and they have a Facebook account, there are two basic ways to close their account. First, if you know their username and password, you can log into Facebook, use the account settings, and queue the Facebook account for deletion. After 14 days, the account will be closed, provided no one logs into the account during the waiting period. If someone logs into the account during the 14-day delete queue, the account deletion must start all over again.

Try to let friends and group members on Facebook know that the account owner is deceased, and then queue the account for deletion. Don't leave people wondering what happened.

The next way to delete am account with Facebook when someone has died is the method you can use when you don't know the username and/or password for the Facebook account.

Memorialize the Account: Facebook, at this link here, has a policy that allows you to report that a person is dead. When you file that report, it freezes their account. That is, it removes any privacy-related issues (phone numbers, etc) and stops allowing friend requests. All other information stays the same. This is for people who want to keep an account open in memorial to the deceased, allowing only friends who were approved prior to the death to see the page. It also removes the page from generic search results.

Remove the Account: Facebook will remove the account of a user who is confirmed dead, should the family or next of kin not want the account memorialized. The next of kin or the person who has power of attorney or legal power due to being executor of the decedent's estate can send a copy of a death certificate along with the deceased's account information, and the account will then be investigated and removed.

Make it Easy on Friends and Family: Have a Will

There are many online services now that allow people to register an account, and safely store all their passwords, account information and more so that when they die, a copy of a death certificate to that company will allow all the information to be released to the next of kin or estate executor. If you have multiple online accounts where you are prolific or known by your friends, it's the right and responsible thing to do to make sure your online friends are notified of your death and your accounts are handled the way YOU want them to be handled.

The point here is: if you don't want your accounts removed, tell your family members and include it in your will. If you do want them removed, that needs to be included too, along with information on how to access the accounts to remove them.

Published by MD Lynn

MD (Michy) has been an author & freelance writer for over fifteen years, with a penchant for fiction, creative nonfiction and topics that pique her passion: alternative medicine, animals & pets, love & relat...  View profile

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  • Pouyan 2/27/2014

    Given the prevalence of hacking and massive identity fraud, taking action in relation to the deceased person's Facebook (and other social networking accounts) as quickly as possible is highly recommended. A site like eClosure.com.au provides a service for grieving families and friends to deactivate or memorialise Facebook accounts of recently deceased family members and friends.