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The advent of the digital age brings dimensions to our lives to which we’re still adjusting.  As online assets, communities, and communications are created we have to figure out how to transfer these things to the next generation.  Facebook has made some strides in providing options for deceased account holders.  Recently, Google added some new options as well.

A link to this page lets you tell Google that you need to handle a deceased user’s account.  Among the options are: requesting any funds in their account, closing the account, obtaining data from the account, and perhaps more urgently, notifying Google of a potential hijacking of a deceased user’s account. 

For your own accounts, Google offers the Inactive Account Manager.  You have the option of setting up rules about what happens if you don’t access your account for a certain period.  Once the time period you’ve specified has gone by (and you haven’t responded to Google’s built in email and text notices) the contacts you have selected will be notified and given access to the data.  Or, you could delete the account.

These are the first steps toward handling the new frontier of digital assets.  I expect that as the need becomes more apparent, the tools and options at our disposal will improve.  For now, you’ll have to review each account that you have for options on how to designate a responsible party to take over management of the account.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net