Controlling your legacy beyond the grave

Julie Hutchison, our legacy expert

News & Insights

Julie Hutchison

12th April 2013 at 3:27pm

Last year I wrote about the questions most people don’t think of, when it comes to your online life and assets, e.g. your e-books, music downloads or photos stored online.

As more and more of our life moves online, the legal consequences become important in terms of how certain information can (or cannot) be accessed by families after a loved one dies.

And just this week, there’s been a development in this area, with Google announcing a feature called Inactive Account Manager.

This allows users to select preferences online, to give more control over what happens to their account after they go offline, as it were.

One choice is “delete account”.

Another choice is rather more interesting.  It acknowledges that some people might want to give access to a trusted friend or family member.

A process is then put in place around what happens to an inactive account.  You can specify a timeout period.  If your account is inactive for a period of time, certain prompts will happen.  You will get an email or text message to alert you.  And if there is no response, your wishes will be implemented and your account deleted or information shared with your chosen contact.

This is a significant succession planning step, showing how issues of online inheritance and legacy are being more actively considered and addressed.

A similar nomination option exists for many pensions.  It can be a bit easier to take steps to control who inherits it after you’re gone : an Expression of Wishes form is usually the starting point, available from the pension provider.

Have you thought about your digital legacy or taken any steps to control who has access? And what about your pension and naming your preference for who receives it – is your Expression of Wishes form up-to-date?

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