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Growing trend for beyond-the-grave social media

Brits using Facebook and other social media are extending their digital presence from beyond the grave, new national research has revealed.

Almost a third of Brits (32 percent) have or are planning to have their social media pages immortalised once they die – making provision in their wills for their digital footprint to be maintained after their death, according to the nationwide study by wills and probate lawyers, Jackson Canter Group.

More than half the nation (52 percent) wants just their Facebook page maintained and managed for them after they die, the survey of 2,000 British adults reveals.

But almost one in five British adults (18 percent) say they want all their social media accounts maintained once they have passed away.

Just 15 percent of the UK wants someone to maintain their Twitter account for them after their death, with 5 percent saying the same for Pinterest and 1.5 percent opting for their Instagram page to be maintained.

There are, of course, those who don’t want their legacy to remain after they’re gone. In fact some 35 percent of the UK admits they want their social media accounts deleted once they die, according to the poll.

When it comes to the actual management of accounts once Brits have passed on, most (37 percent) would choose their husband, wife or partner to look after them. Though almost a third (32 percent) would nominate their children to take care of their social media afterlife, almost one in five (19 percent) would ask their best friend to make sure their digital footprint was left in safe hands.

Naomi Pinder, a wills and probate solicitor and head of Department at the Jackson Canter Group, said: “Five years ago we had no wills which made provision for social media account management. But today, it is very common and a rapidly growing trend.

“Our research shows that 57 percent say they want their nominated manager to simply reply to comments. But 55% want their social media guardian to post old memories or photos once a twice a year too.

“Indeed, more than one in 10 have requested that someone post at least once a week on their page in order to keep their memory alive.”

More than four in 10 (43 percent) of those polled believe that social media accounts, especially Facebook, offer a new and unique way of fondly remembering people, their loves and lives once they have gone and makes the grieving process easier to mbear.

More than a quarter of the UK (26 percent) admits it checks the social media pages of friends and family who have passed away regularly – just to read new messages, wishes and reminiscences of friends and family members.

“It’s definitely a growing trend, “ added Naomi Pinder.

“Of the 2,000 people we surveyed some 53 percent say they would have no hesitation in agreeing to manage the Facebook page of a friend or family member who had passed away – and one in five said they would consider being asked an honour.”

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