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What Happens to My Facebook and Email Once I Pass Away?

Digital assets are essentially anything that exist in electronic format and come with the right to use (such as social media accounts or online bank accounts). Your digital assets don’t automatically go away once you pass away, and you might not want them to. However, you will want the right people to have the ability to access, manage or terminate your digital assets.

Digital assets carry sentimental value and financial value, as well as important personal and private information. For example, you may have photographs stored that your loved ones may want to keep as mementos. As another example, your email account might contain emails with important information like electronic statements for bills, utilities, bank accounts, etc. Or perhaps your Google calendar has information about important upcoming meetings that your loved ones might need to know about.

It is a good idea to inventory your digital assets and consider them in your estate plan, particularly if they have financial value. Some digital accounts, such as Facebook and Google Accounts, give you the option to decide what happens to your digital accounts. Follow the below instructions:

Facebook: Facebook allows you to either pick a “legacy contact” to manage your account or delete your account once Facebook is informed that you pass away.

Log in to your account at www.facebook.com

  1. Click on the upside-down triangle ▼ in the top right corner to open up a drop-down menu
  2. Click on “Settings”
  3. Click on “Security”
  4. Click on “Legacy Contact”
  5. Choose the following: My Legacy Contact OR Account Deletion
    1. My Legacy Contact: this is a person you choose to manage your account after you pass away; they will be able to post on your “legacy” page but will not be able to post as you individually or see your message
      1. If you choose this option, you can give your legacy contact “Data Archive Permission,” which allows them to download a copy of everything you’ve shared on Facebook
    2. Account Deletion: your account will be permanently deleted after you pass away
  6. Click the “Close” button to save changes

Google Accounts: Google allows you to choose people who will have access and/or the ability to manage your Google Accounts once your account has been inactive for a designated period of time.

Log in to your account (for example, log in to www.gmail.com for a Gmail Account)

  1. Click on your Google icon in the top right corner to open up a drop-down menu
  2. Click on “My Account”
  3. Click on “Personal info & privacy”
  4. Click on “Control your content”
  5. Under the category “Assign an account trustee” and “Inactive Account Manager,” click “Change This Setting”
  6. Click “Setup”
  7. The following actions occur automatically once you enable your “Inactive Account Manager” (Step 10) but may be modified:
    1. Alert Me: You will be alerted by email and phone before any of the below-selected actions happen to your account
    2. Timeout Period: Your account will time out if you haven’t signed in to your Google account in the period you select (3, 6, 9, 12, 15 or 18 months)
    3. Notify Contacts and Share Data: You can choose up to ten contacts who will be notified when your account is inactive; You can also permit these contacts to have access to your data with if your account becomes inactive
  8. The following action can be opted into:
    1. Optionally Delete Account: Your account will be deleted after the above actions have been completed if you select this option
  9. Click “Enable” to save changes

If you have digital assets with financial value or are interested in learning more about how to properly plan your estate, contact the estate planning attorneys at Onda, LaBuhn, Rankin & Boggs Co., LPA. Derek Graham at (614) 716-0500 or [email protected] or Brittany Pace at (614) 716-0500 or [email protected]

Posted on Monday, March 21st, 2016 at 1:06 pm and filed under News and Press.

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