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September 17, 2013

Your Facebook password belongs in your will

(Continued)

Going beyond password protection, you should also think about how you'll want your accounts managed once you're no longer able to do so. In recent months, many new digital legacy planning tools have hit the market, designed to help us manage the ending of our online lives. Google offers its Google Inactive Account Manager, which allows you to choose a trusted contact who will be notified by email and phone when your account has been inactive after a specified length of time and who can also be given access to the Google accounts you choose. For all other accounts, you might want to look into a digital "vault," a service that allows you to assign beneficiaries for each of your online accounts and safely store other aspects of your online presence there For example, Legacy Locker explains that it allows account holders to save their online account information in a digital "safety deposit box," and then specify "beneficiaries" to receive information about these accounts once Legacy Locker has verified the account holder's death. They also offer the ability to deliver "Legacy Letters" to friends or family members. Similar services are provided by companies such as AssetLock, Cirrus Legacy and SecureSafe. Note that while all of these sites can help you focus on digital asset preservation, their services may conflict with terms of service, click-through agreements, or relevant state and federal laws, and it is important to remember this throughout the planning process.

A foundational text is Evan Carroll and John Romano's "Your Digital Afterlife," and their website includes different strategies you can explore. Make sure that whatever tool you choose for digital estate planning is logical, easy to use and most importantly, something you share with others.

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