Managing Your Google Account for Estate Planning

By Patrick Baker ~

If you have a Google account, you’re in control of your data and the tools available to manage your account. But did you know you can tell Google how to manage your account as part of your estate plan?

People use Google accounts and apps for email, creating and managing documents, spreadsheets, photos, and wayfinding using Google Maps. You need a Google account to use Android phones and tablets, Chromebooks, and installing mobile apps.

Managing your digital assets is a sometimes overlooked facet of estate planning. What happens to your online accounts if you become disabled or deceased? What does the law require for powers of attorney or executing your will?

First, you’ll need to identify an executor or principal for your will or powers of attorney. You also need to state who can manage your digital assets and accounts on your behalf. Consult an estate planning attorney for more information on managing digital assets.

Next, you’ll need to specify your wishes to Google for how you want your account managed. 

1. Open your web browser.
2. Go to myaccount.google.com.
3. If you’re not signed in, click the button that says Go to Google Account.
4. Enter your email address (something@gmail.com) and click Next.
5. Enter your password and click Next.
6. Click Data & Personalization from the menu on the left.
7. Scroll down and click Make a Plan for Your Account.

Google will ask you for details, including:

1. How much time should pass before Google considers your account inactive?
2. A phone number to receive text messages from Google (required information).
3. An email address to receive emails from Google. Your Gmail address is the default choice.
4.If you previously supplied Google with a Recovery Email address, you can use that address or change it.
5.Enter this information and click Next.

Google will ask you to:

1. Enter the email addresses for up to 10 contacts who can access your account information. At a minimum, you should include the emails for your principal and executor.
2. Google will then ask you to specify the data you want to share.
3. You can also provide phone numbers for your contacts.
4. Optionally, create a Gmail autoresponder to automatically send a reply message to anyone emailing you after your account becomes inactive.
5. Indicate if you want Google to delete your account after it becomes inactive by clicking the slider switch.
6. Click Review Plan to review your selections.
7. Google will send you email reminders that you enabled the Inactive Account Manager. Uncheck the box if you don’t want to receive reminders.
8.Click Confirm Plan to complete the setup.

Patrick Baker is an IT consultant and the founder of Prime of Life Tech. Learn more about his services at primeoflifetech.com or email info@primeoflifetech.com.

Have technology questions? Email questions@primeoflifetech.com. Patrick will follow up with you and may use your question in a future edition of this column.

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