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Estate Planning: Do You Want To Leave a Digital Fingerprint?

 Posted on July 22, 2013 in Beneficiaries

Most everyone is familiar with the benefits of traditional estate planning, from articulating your desires in a living will to generating trusts or wills that explain what happens to your assets after you pass away. As people are increasingly active online, it's necessary to think about what might happen to your digital assets after you pass away. Everything from the photos on your Facebook account to the contents of your email inbox is worth considering. Failing to think about what should happen to your digital accounts and data after you pass away can lead to additional emotional trauma for family members in the wake of your death. Companies involved with digital data are increasingly cognizant of the role that stored information can play in family disputes or dissemination of information, which is why Google has created Inactive Account Manager. With Google's new tool, which just came out this spring, users can determine what happens to their data on their own terms. Using this program allows individuals to designate what will happen to any information or data connected with Google accounts- including everything from email to videos posted on YouTube. Users can name other individuals who will be notified about account deactivation, which you can set to occur anywhere from 3-12 months after the company identifies you as "inactive". Google will reach out one month before they official terminate your accounts, in the event that you're traveling or otherwise around. Beneficiaries, if you name them, will receive digital links to download any information that you have previously chosen to share. This way, digital memories can be kept alive if you wish, or you can have all of the information deleted. Other companies also offer what's known as online safe deposit boxes, where you can store information about account sign-ins and passwords, allowing beneficiaries to get information if they want or need it. Estate planning now reaches right into your computer screen. If you have questions about developing estate plans, contact our office today for a consultation.

Image courtesy of Jomphong at

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