A while ago, we talked about protecting your digital assets, such as e-mail, video, photography, and social media accounts.  Designating how you wish these to be handled upon your death is important, if those individuals you will leave the assets to will have any chance of accessing these assets.

The main thing to keep in mind is that the Terms of Service agreements emanating from your online account owners, such as Facebook and Google, can be troublesome.  Even legal professionals are often at a loss, when it comes to how to properly handle these accounts.  First and foremost, your accounts are not yours.  They are the property of the service provider.

Be sure to check the provisions of the service agreements—you know, the ones that you may have skimmed over when originally signing up for your accounts!  Some providers will not allow access to anyone other than the individual who first set up the account, regardless of permissions designated in wills, trusts or powers of attorneys.

Others, such as Facebook, will allow the naming of a legacy contact or deletion of the account after death.  Google allows users to set up an Inactive Account Manager, which lets an account holder determine his or her own terms, such as how long before Google can delete the account or having Google send an e-mail notice of cancellation to designated contacts (in Google Settings) before deleting the account.

Even if set in advance, the providers often change terms, deny access or require court intervention to access these accounts on death or incapacity.  If no direct wishes and powers granted. it may require a court order to access your assets and accounts.

Finally, we can help you simplify this process by properly preparing and using our program enabling you to track and access them 24/7 to provide control over inventory of assets and accounts for your heirs and loved ones when you are gone.  Give us a call at 805-201-2552 or e-mail thilliard@terrihilliard.com.