Tech Companies Addressing Digital Assets After the Death

Some tech companies have addressed how a person’s digital assets can be managed after a person’s death.

If you have a Facebook account you have two options. The first option is the “Memorialized Account”.  Upon the death of the owner of the account, either a memorialized account is created or the account is permanently deleted.

This option can be found under the account settings tab.  The second option is the “Legacy Contact”.  Under this option, the account owner may designate a person to manage the Memorialized Account. The Legacy Contact can be authorized to download Facebook photos, posts and profile information.  This option can be found by going to Facebook Settings and choosing Security and then selecting the Legacy Contact option.

Google allows you to designate an “Inactive Account Manager” or “IAM”. The IAM may access the account but is limited in that the IAM cannot edit the account or act as if it is his or her account. You also have the option to set a default for your Google account to be deleted after a certain period of time. If you do not have any settings in place, the Executor of your estate can contact Google directly to gain access to your account.

Apple, unfortunately, does not offer the option to pre-designate or pre-authorize an individual to access and manage your accounts after your death. Apple handles each account on a case by case basis and your personal representative may call Apple’s customer support for help.

Twitter does not allow anyone else but the owner of the account to access it. However, Twitter will work with the account owner’s fiduciary to shut down the account after the owner has died.

Powers of Attorney, wills and trusts can include powers to assist fiduciaries in accessing accounts, within Term-of-Service Agreements.