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Digital Succession for Google

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One of the most painfully overlooked elements of estate planning is managing the transfer of digital data and accounts. With the loss of a loved one, pictures, messages, videos, and access to hundreds of web services are often lost as well. In the best case scenario, retrieving the data of a late loved one can take months and require a lot of effort. In the worst case, accounts and data are never recovered. Luckily, these issues are preventable.
Much of our data is housed across platforms that are owned by a single entity. Google is one of those large entities. If you lose access to a Google account, you lose access to Gmail, Google Drive, Youtube Data, Google Domains, Maps Data, Google Photos, and nearly 100 other core and additional Google services that are associated with your account. Loss of access to a Google account will also bar access from all third-party app connections to your Google account. This can include Facebook, Financial Service Applications, Reddit, Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Amazon, and thousands of others that a loved one may be using every day. The bottom line is, you want to make sure you have a robust estate plan for your Google account. Today we will review the planning options.

Leaving Behind a Password

Some people opt to leave behind their login information for loved ones to access. While this seems like an obvious solution, it poses quite a few problems.
1. It goes without saying that writing down your passwords poses an enormous security risk. This is partially why password managers are starting to become so popular. If your password list ever gets misplaced, you could be at serious risk for asset loss and impersonation. You will also need to inform your admin or beneficiary preemptively of where the login info can be found, so if they become untrustworthy you will also be at risk.
2. As 2FA becomes increasingly required, login information fails to be a sufficient means of account access. From text messages to biometrics and Google Prompts, any account with 2FA, which is now basically every account, requires a lot of tangential planning.
3. Planning documents need to be modified to include digital accounts in order to ensure administrators and beneficiaries are getting access legally. This can be quite the pain to handle. Alternatively, a software like Bequest allows all Google data to be filtered and passed on non-probate.
4. People change their passwords. Whether you are locked out of an account or change passwords to keep up to date on security, if you change your passwords you will need to keep an updated log.

Providing Access to a Device with Google

While leaving behind access to a device that is logged in to Google may seem like a good way to bypass sharing login info, it is also not a good solution.
1. Automatic log out. Google will automatically log users out of their accounts every 14-30 days, especially if Google is being used to log in to third-party applications. This means your fiduciaries will have very little time to access your account before being logged out.
2. Obviously, sharing your device’s password is a giant security risk. This is very unlikely to be a good idea.

Creating an Inactive Manager

Google has an Inactive Manager option for non-workspace accounts. Inactive Managers are given the option to download data from selected applications: GMail, Google Drive, etc. However, it is still not a great solution.
1. This is not a death-specific solution, meaning your attorney will need to modify your planning documents to include proper language. It also means if you don’t use your account for a while, your inactive manager can still get access to your data.
2. You cannot filter any of the app data you allow the Inactive Manager to download. If you have certain documents or other data you would like to keep private, it would have to be deleted before you pass.
3. Your Inactive Manager will receive a raw data folder that they will need to parse. This is incredibly time-consuming and a poor solution for estate administration.

Bequest

Using Bequest to handle Google succession is the only option that preserves privacy and avoids probate.
Bequest allows filtering to exclude sensitive senders or topics, and grouping of emails so they can be assigned to admins and beneficiaries. All data is encrypted such that Bequest cannot access it. Furthermore, the UI for beneficiaries and admins is incredibly easy and avoids combing through dozens of gigabytes of data.

Conclusion

If you own a business, receive electronic statements, or store important documents in your Google Drive, you need to have a succession plan in place. Bequest is your best option for getting this done easily and efficiently.

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Bequest Finance Inc.

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Denver, CO 80223

mail@bequest.finance