Everyone with a Facebook account has been told time and time again, “Never share your password”, “Don’t let other people access your account”, and other advice along the same lines. It’s even against the Terms of Service set by Facebook. Ok, no problem. But what happens when the only person who knows how to log into that Facebook account passes away?

This question first became widespread in 2009 with the release of a feature that encouraged you to reconnect with Facebook friends that you had not interacted with in a while. As you can imagine, people did not take kindly to being urged by a website to reconnect with a deceased friend or family member. Facebook responded to complaints by explaining their profile memorialization policy, which transformed the account of a deceased Facebooker into a memorial page, sealing out any attempts to log in as that person.  Anyone who had been Facebook friends with the deceased before the page conversion could still access the profile, view photos and leave comments to pay their respects, but it would be impossible to receive or send new friend requests. Facebook does require proof before they will convert the profile to a memorial page, such as a link to an obituary or similar documents.

As it turns out, for people finding themselves in this situation, there are a couple different options available. Immediate family members can request that Facebook simply deactivate the profile of the deceased if they do not wish the page to remain as a memorial. Facebook does not provide log in information on behalf of the deceased to any third party. Including the credentials in a public will might not be the best idea, but the information can be sealed away in an envelope or something, and then the will can include instructions to deliver that envelope to a specific person. This can be a smart move for people who control company Facebook pages.