Have you ever wondered what happens to information stored on digital accounts after you pass away? The thought of your personal information floating through cyber space years after your passing is a bit scary. Google recently came up with an answer to that burning question. They created Inactive Account Manager, a process that allows users of Google to entrust account information to family or friends or have an account completely deleted after a certain period of inactivity.
“No one likes to think about death—especially your own. Inactive Account Manager makes it easy to tell when a user is no longer accessing their account,” says Google Spokesperson Nadja Blagojevic.
Getting set up is fairly easy. Users start off by choosing whether they would like their account to be deleted after anywhere from three to 12 months of inactivity. Or they can choose up to 10 trusted people to receive account information from different services such as Google+ Profiles, YouTube, and Contacts and Circles. Users have the power to pick and choose who will receive that information.
However, accessing the account of a deceased user who has not signed up with the Inactive Account Manager is a lengthy process. You are required to submit an application, providing documents such as a photocopy of your government-issued ID or driver’s license and the deceased person’s death certificate. If Google approves you to move on to part two of the process, you’ll be required to go through an additional legal process, which may include an order from a U.S. court. So having a plan for your digital data after death will save your family the headache of trying to access important information that only you might have.
You can sign up for this service at www.google.com/settings/account/inactive.