The BLOG: Voices

Don’t lose your legacy to the cloud

With technology’s rapid advancements, we as a society have become more accustomed to keeping many of our assets online, via social media, email and other web-based storage.

Although you may not think about these as “assets,” it will be important to your loved ones to have access to these accounts upon your death or disability.

At my Life and Legacy Planning firm, Eckert Byrne LLC, we provide our clients with a Digital Asset Authorization, which allows designated individuals to access our clients’ digital assets in the event of death or disability. However, because this is an extremely new and rapidly changing area of law, other steps are often recommended. Here are a few small and easy steps you can take now to ensure access to your online accounts when needed.

(Screenshot via Facebook)

(Screenshot via Facebook)


Facebook allows you to designate a “Legacy Contact” who will be allowed to access your Facebook profile if necessary. In order to add a Legacy Contact:

1.     Click the arrow in the top right corner of Facebook and select Settings

2.     In the left menu, click Security

3.     Click Legacy Contact

4.     Type in a friend’s name and click Add

5.     To let your friend know they’re now your “Legacy Contact,” click Send

Google Accounts

Google has an “Inactive Account Manager” tool that allows you to set an amount of time you want Google to wait before taking action (three, six, nine months, or a year).

One month before that deadline, if Google hasn’t heard from you, it will send you an alert by either email or text message. If that month closes out and you still have not re-entered your account, Google will notify your “trusted contacts” — you can list up to 10 — and share your data with them if you have so chosen.

You may also set your account to delete any and all of the information in your Google account. To utilize “Inactive Account Manager”:

1.     Click your photo in the top right hand corner of your Google account

2.     Click My Account

3.     Under Personal Info and Privacy click Control Your Content

4.     Scroll down and click Change this Setting in the Inactive Account Manager box

5.     Click Setup

Unfortunately, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter do not presently have similar options to share access to your accounts, and that is part of what we address with our Digital Asset Authorization form.

Please share this with a spouse, friend or family member who might benefit from knowing this!

Anna Eckert Byrne, Esq.

Anna Eckert Byrne, Esq.

Anna Eckert Byrne, Esq., is the partner and founder of Eckert Byrne LLC, a Life and Legacy Planning Law Firm licensed in Mass., and N.Y.