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How to assign a 'legacy contact' in Facebook

Better safe than sorry: give someone you trust the keys to your profile page in case the worst happens.

Now playing: Watch this: Update Facebook from the grave

I know people who have passed away suddenly -- don't we all? -- and the last thing loved ones should have to deal with is figuring out how to access and update their dearly departed's Facebook page.

If you have a Facebook page of your own, now you can make things easier on your friends and/or family by designating a This new feature allows the person of your choice -- a close friend, your spouse, your child -- to manage parts of your Facebook account, the better to announce your passing and properly memorialize your life.

Let's hope your trusted contact never needs to memorialize you on Facebook. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Here's how to choose that person. Note that my instructions describe doing this in a Web browser on your PC, but the procedure is virtually identical if you have an updated version of the Facebook app on your phone.

Step 1: Open Facebook, click Settings, and then click Security.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step 2: Click the Legacy Contact option, then click the "Choose a friend" field and start typing the name of the person you want. (Remember, this being Facebook, everyone is a "friend." Obviously you can choose a relative if you want.)

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step 3: Review the notification message your contact will receive and make any desired changes. (I found it a pretty formal message to send to my wife.) Then click Send.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step 4: If you want, check the Data Archive Permission box, which would allow your contact to download posts, photos, videos and/or other content from your account. Click Close and you're done.

In the unfortunate event you pass on, your contact will still need to inform Facebook and submit a memorialization request. Once that's approved, he or she can write a post for display atop the memorialized Timeline, respond to new friend requests, and update the profile picture and cover photo.

Here's hoping no one needs this feature anytime soon.