Yesterday we published Step 2 of Next Avenue contributor and author Catey Hill’s 5 Steps to Creating Your Digital Estate Plan. Today we read Step 3 of Caty’s plan:
“Step 3: Name a “digital executor.” This is the person you designate to carry out your digital estate plan upon your death, ensuring that your end-of-life requests are met. Your digital executor should be impartial and mature, able to handle this sensitive information responsibly, and technologically savvy, says Charley Moore, founder and executive chairman of Rocket Lawyer.
Once you’ve settled on someone who fits that description, name him or her as your digital executor in your will, says Moore. Be sure your digital executor knows how to access your digital estate plan, including instructions that spell out how to handle your online accounts upon your death. You should also give your digital executor power of attorney over your digital accounts, since he or she may need it to access the accounts after you die.
Let your digital executor know if you have automated any of your digital assets by using something like Google’s Inactive Account Manager.
Here’s how that feature works: Google will automatically send you a text or an email alert if you’ve been inactive for a certain amount of time (you pick the duration when signing up in the Account Management area of one of your Google accounts). If you don’t respond, Google will notify your friends or family members whose contact information you’ve provided. Once they’ve confirmed that you’re deceased, Google will do what you’ve instructed and either share your accounts with these people or delete them.
Although Google is ahead of the curve on this, Salmeron says that ‘there is no doubt in my mind that companies will be following its lead.’
Even though Google Inactive Account Manager process is automated, it’s important to let your executor know that you’ve set it up, so he or she isn’t trying to figure out what to do with these accounts.
Next: Step 4: Why you should write out instructions for what should happen to your digital assets after you pass away
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