Google and Data After Death

globe, boxes, computer mouseMany sites make it very difficult for anyone other than the account holder to access accounts and that can create problems for your Executor and Beneficiaries unless you plan in advance.

Have you taken steps for the disposition of Your digital assets after death?

  • Created a secure list of digital assets?
  • Designated heirs and a Digital Executor?
  • Decided which assets are transferred to heirs and which are deleted?
  • Legally protected your digital assets?

Digital assets are an individual’s electronic possessions, including virtual property such as e-mails, digital photos, videos, tweets, texts, songs and e-books, as well as online account information for websites or programs such as Facebook, LinkedIn, bank accounts, PayPal and any others. — What Happens to Your Digital Assets When You Die?

Google Gives Users ‘Digital Wills’ For Data

Dubbed “data-after-death”, the official Google facility is formally known as inactive account manager and lets users tell the company what to do with email messages and other data if their account becomes inactive. The feature is called Inactive Account Manager — not a great name, we know — and you’ll find it on your Google Account settings page. You can tell us what to do with your Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if your account becomes inactive for any reason. — Plan your digital afterlife with Inactive Account Manager

Google Gives Users ‘Digital Wills’ For Data Notes

Unfortunately, the new option does not allow its user to control the disposition of their accounts after their death only the data. So, think of it in this manner. A user can only transfer their emails, not the ability to email from their account. — Geoffrey A. Fowler, Google Lets Users Plan ‘Digital Afterlife’ By Naming Heirs

Because of U.S. privacy laws and other concerns, many major Internet services don’t allow people to pass control of accounts along to other people, even if they stipulate it in a will. Most Internet companies handle after-death data and account control differently and lawmakers are increasingly looking into digital property legislation.

Here’s a guide to how some major Internet companies handle the accounts of the deceased as of the end of 2012. Included are: Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, Tumblr, Twitter, Linkedin. — What To Do Online When a Loved One Dies

Entrustet is a free, secure online service that helps you organize and prepare last wishes for your digital assets. Entrustet allows users to maintain a secure portfolio of online assets, nominate heirs and manage asset distribution and deletion. SecureSafe is now responsible for all current and future Entrustet customers.

Your highly secure online storage for files and passwords: SecureSafe

Type of Data to Safeguard PDF

NOTE: You’ll notice that WordPress.com is not listed among the other services mentioned in the WSJ article linked to above. See here for information provided by WordPress.com Staff.

28 thoughts on “Google and Data After Death

  1. Realy good topic. I would like to make everything as smooth as possible for my family and I never thought of the digital side of things until I saw this post. Thanks.

  2. This is a very informative post on the issues concerning this uncharted area for clients and estate attorneys. I have been reading a lot about this and advising clients accordingly. But I think are only 5 states that have any laws about this issue, so the law is really behind on this issue. For you and those readers interested in the more conventional issues involving estate planning and changes in federal estate tax laws please read my blog post entitled Estate Planning 2013: What Now? A Must Read for Everyone at http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/federal-pennsylvania-estate-tax-planning-2013/

  3. Nice article Time Thief.. I am new to the WordPress, was looking to learn and laded on your blog. Really liked it. I think service from Google is a step in the right direction, but it may not be enough. I blogged about it recently on my blog.
    Keep up the good work :-)

  4. I just recommended your blog to a fellow blogger buddy of mine.
    He has some great new helpful videos on his blog and I thought you might be able to help him with some ideas in how to get more traffic.
    As always… great post!

    • This is for your friend and anyone else who is likewise interested in increasing blog traffic. It’s important to be realistic and understand that quality trumps quantity. In the early days of any blog it’s easy to become fixated on stats and to despair over the lack of comments. One needs to pacify their needy inner child during this phase which lasts for about a year in most cases. Always keep in mind that social networking is a give, give, give to get scenario.

      Two ways of attracting like-minded subscribers are
      (1) commenting meaningfully and frequently on blogs with similar content and
      (2) being active on social networking sites.

      On the bottom of your Admin page you will find a link to the Learn WordPress.com blogging Tutorial prepared by Staff. http://learn.wordpress.com/
      The support documentation is all found at the Support link http://en.support.wordpress.com which is also on the bottom of your Admin page.
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/introduction/
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/getting-more-views-and-traffic/

      These 5 videos introduce how Google discovers, crawls, indexes your site’s pages, and how Google displays them in search results. It also touches lightly upon challenges webmasters and search engines face, such as duplicate content http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/03/22/5google-webmasters-video-tutorials/

      If you are using a WordPress.com theme good SEO is a given. However, going beyond the theme what the blogger has done within that structure is worth evaluating. Whether you write informative, persuasive or controversial content learning how search engines work, and how to apply basic SEO to you content will benefit your blog as it will increase traffic from targeted readers. http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2011/10/21/two-seo-videos-for-bloggers/

      6 Ways to Make Google Your Blog’s Best Friend > http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2012/10/08/6-ways-to-make-google-your-blogs-best-friend/

      Here are 25 basic steps to take to increase traffic to your blog:
      1. Structure a reader and search engine blog;
      2. In blogging content is king create unique, high quality content so publish fresh content frequently;
      3. Learn basic SEO so you can use keywords effectively and apply basic SEO to your headlines, blog and posts;
      Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.
      4. Make your blog posts look professional;
      5. Create at least 4-6 pillar posts and continue to create pillar posts;
      Pillar posts are also referred to as flagship content. Pillar posts are comprehensive posts that offer great value to readers as the contents are timeless in nature. They define you as having authority in the niche you blog in.
      6. Select and link to appropriate anchor text;
      7. Leave meaningful comments on related blogs and encourage comments on your own blog;
      8. Develop relationships with other bloggers so you can build a blog readers’ community around your own blog;
      9. Support the blog centered communities on related blogs by commenting on them and promoting posts from them;
      10. Link to authoritative sources in your posts;
      11. Deep link to your earlier related posts in your new posts;
      12. Assign appropriate categories and tag your posts with care;
      13. Link to related authoritative blogs in your blogroll;
      14. Provide RSS feeds for subscribers;
      RSS (Rich Site Summary or really simple syndication) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.
      15. Having a well designed theme is important, evaluate your theme for effectiveness, and if required, create a new header, make improvements or replace your theme and reduce page loading time;
      16. Avoid cluttering your blog with widgets that lack reader value and slow page loading time;
      17. Buy your own domain and domain mapping;
      18. Verify your blog with the three big search engines.
      19. Get organized, use an online to do list by developing a blogging workflow;
      20. Join social networks and social media sites like Facebook and use Twitter, Friendfeed and other Free RSS directories to promote your blog posts;
      21. Promote your blog through social networks, online groups, and selected directories;
      22. Develop a social media time management strategy and stick to it;
      23. Submit your latest pillar article to a blog carnival;
      24. Become a guest blogger on sites with higher page rank than your own site.
      25. Create newsletters, podcasts, videos and/or Ebooks for your subscribers.

    • Thank you for seeking out my blog, letting me know you like my posts and for the compliment on my support forum answers. I appreciate all three.

    • It’s a disturbing topic for most. But given the amount of time and energy we put into our blogs, I believe planning for what will happen to what we create after we are gone is important. It’s good to know you think so too.

  5. This issue of digital rights management after death has been a hot topic particularly since we shifted so much of our lives online.With everything from pictures to personally identifiable info, client correspondence to creative media stored in the “cloud,” it’s an issue everyone must address, and quickly!

  6. This is a very interesting question. There must be loads of content on the internet now, from deceased authors, remaining like some ruined city on the web. Luckily, all I have is my writing on the web, so I’m not too worried as yet.

    • You are right. There is an amazing amount of content out there. When it comes to planning there’s no time like the present. :)

  7. Great topic! This is one of the things I’ve been working on with our finances but hadn’t quite figured out how to address it short of leaving behind my log-on’s and ID’s. I’ll probably still do that anyhow as my daughter is trustworthy and needs to be my back-up “just in case”. But I’ll definitely be checking into these things.

    Do you have any links or references of other things to consider with this? And good, you’re on Pinterest so I can pin this.

    Nancy

  8. I use my birthday or there abouts to up date my will. This will help immeasurably. I also want to tell people to not wait until the are 76 to get on board with this. Thank you.

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