In today’s fast paced and interconnected society, digital services have become a basic part of our life. At the top of all the services is Google and their multitude of business and personal services. But what does that have to do with Estate Planning?
How much of your life does Google keep for you? You communicate with Gmail, Allo, YouTube and Google+. Photos of your family or company information stored on Google Photos, Drive, and Docs. Business marketing and information stored in Google MyBusiness, Adwords and Analytics. In fact your Google account can hold the keys to all these and more.
How many people have access to these digital assets? To increase security you may be the only person that has the password for your account. Have you stopped and though what could happen if you were suddenly incapacitated or to pass away? Would anyone be able to access these files? Would they have to go through the expensive and time-consuming process to get a court-order? Will your previous family records and income-producing business files remain out of reach forever?
Estate Planning for Google
You may have never thought of this issue, but thankfully Google has. The Inactive Account Manager is a function built into your Google account. It lets you tell Google what to do with your digital assets if you don’t sign on for a specific time. You define this period in three-month blocks up to a year-and-a-half long. It then alerts you via email and mobile phone that it’s about to take action on your account.
There are several different actions the service can take on your behalf.
First, you can specify that Google delete your entire account. All files associated with your username would disappear. Items like:
Emails in Gmail
Files in Google Drive
Also, nobody can reuse your username, even if it is to access current or future emails.
Another option is to preserve your accounts. Instead of deleting, Google will send notice to up to ten family members, business associates, or employees. You can also define whether to share data and what kind. For example, you may want to give your employees access to your business email while your spouse receives the family pictures.
Before you do anything else, why don’t you start the Inactive Account Manager right now? You never know what can happen to you in the next few minutes. If you have questions or need help with estate planning for your digital, physical, and financial assets, we are here. Our experienced Jacksonville Estate Planning attorneys are available for a free consultation.