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Managing Your Google Account for Estate Planning

With a Google account, you have options to control your data and the tools to manage your account – and you can also tell Google how to manage this account as part of your estate plan.

Google accounts and apps are used for a wide variety of purposes, including email, creating and managing documents, spreadsheets, photos, and navigation. In order to use Android phones and tablets, Chromebooks, and to install mobile apps, you also need to have a Google account set up.

Managing your digital assets is a vital part of estate planning. If you become disabled or pass away, what will happen to your online accounts? When it comes to powers of attorney and executing your will, what does the law require regarding these accounts?

You should begin by choosing an executor or principal for your will or powers of attorney. You also must state who you will allow to manage your digital assets and accounts on your behalf.

Here are the steps to specifying your wishes to Google regarding the management of your account:

  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 of your plan, including:

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

Google will then ask you to:

  1. Enter the email addresses for up to 10 contacts who can access your account information. Be sure to provide at least the emails for your principal and executor.
    2. Specify the data you want to share.
    3. You can choose to provide phone numbers for your contacts.
    4. Optionally, you can create a Gmail autoresponder to automatically send a reply message to anyone who emails 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 do not wish to receive these reminders.
    8.Click Confirm Plan to complete the setup.

Google provides a useful way to indicate how you want your account to be accessed and managed should you become incapacitated or deceased. It is worth taking the time to make your digital accounts a part of your estate plan.

For help creating or updating your estate plan, contact us at Wilson and Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC at 708 482 7090 for our main office in LaGrange, Illinois or at 847 656 8958 for our Northbrook, Illinois office.

 

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