Electronic media giant Google recently unveiled an account tool that will help account holders with their digital estate planning. The “Inactive Account Manager” tool is just another example of how everyone should pay attention to the need for digital estate planning in the 21st century.
Although many people do not think of them as such, your e-mail account, Facebook account, even online bank accounts, are all digital assets that should be incorporated into your estate plan. Consider what will happen to these accounts if you die. Who will be able to access the accounts to find important information or contacts? Who will be able to download stored photos or videos from the accounts? Who will be able to access your financial records that are all stored online? The new Google tool provides a simple answer for some of these questions; however, it falls short of fully addressing the need to create a digital estate plan.
The Google tool lets individuals who have a Google e-mail, YouTube, Blogger, Drive, Google+ or Picasa account decide how their account will be handled if it becomes inactive for three, six, nine or 12 months (you pick the time period). You have the option to direct that all account contents be deleted or that access to the account is given to up to ten people of your choosing. While this is an excellent idea and a simple solution for a limited number of digital assets, only a consultation with your estate planning attorney can ensure that all of your digital assets are accounted for in your estate plan.
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