Google launches digital afterlife service

Published: 22/04/2013

So much of our life happens online nowadays. From sharing photographs on Facebook to our music, film and reading collections, even finding our potential partner.

As a result online powerhouse Google has launched ‘Inactive Account Manager’, a new feature which allows Google account holders to donate their digital assets to a nominated beneficiary.

The account holder can program their online presence to ‘expire’ after a set period of inactivity, three, six or 12 months. After this time, the nominated beneficiary will then be provided access to such digital assets as Gmail, Picasa photos and YouTube videos.

However there are concerns that some people may mistake this service as an alternative to making a Will.

Linda Cummins is the Head of">Wills and Probate at Goldsmith Williams:

“With lot of our assets now digital we understand the appeal for a service such as Google’s Inactive Account Manager. However where our concern lies, as leading Wills and Estate Planning practitioners, is that some may be under the misconception that this service acts as a substitute for a Will.

“There remains an overwhelming belief that when we die our physical estate and assets are automatically inherited by our nearest and dearest. However, without a Will, this is not the case; instead the estate will be distributed under the Rules of Intestacy. This could mean your children and even your partner could end up with nothing.

“To discuss your situation and ensure all your loved one are provided for contact our dedicated Wills and Probate department.”

Content correct at time of publication

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