How to make a will for your ”digital assets” before you die

an illustration showing social networks after demise of a person
Design by Muntaha / TechEngage
(Last Updated On: December 22, 2018)

Whenever a leading figure dies, their account is immediately tak0en over and updated so that everyone knows that they are no more. Ever thought about what would happen to yours?

Well, strategically speaking, your online data is no less valuable than your tangible assets. The pictures you uploaded, millions of the private conversations you had throughout your life on different social media platforms, your subscriptions, and whatnot are entitled to be protected. In other words, your online legacy ought to be preserved no matter how ordinary you may think you are; your online data has a worth.

We don’t control when we die. However, what we can control is what happens to our data when we die. The kind of world we live in today with a plethora of security breaches, it’s unbelievable if the thought never crossed your mind (if it still hasn’t, consider yourself judged already, kidding).

You don’t think about your death because it’s depressing and YOLO? But Google, as well as all the social media platforms, do. These platforms provide you with the option to decide what should happen to your data and account when you die.

Let’s show you how it is done.


Inactive Account Manager

Whether it is your Facebook account or a university application, your Gmail account is driving a lot your online activities. The documents on the drive, spreadsheets, contacts, memos, and you name it; Google has access to everything. Now it’s up to you what to do with it. You can share either all the information or selective with your trusted contacts or do nothing at all.

Here’s how:

Go to your ‘Google Account.’

google account inactive account manager settings

Google account inactive account manager settings


Now ‘Start’

Google account inactive account manager

Begin by deciding after how many months of inactivity should Google consider you dead. The minimum number that you can select is three months.

Google account waiting period before inactivation

You will now be asked to enter your phone number. Google will send an SMS to your phone number before taking any further action. If there is any other reason for which you might not be active, you can always come back and take over. Lack of response to the text would confirm your death to Google.

Google account data management after demise

Now comes the crucial part. Pick friends or family who you want to have access to your data. You can add up to 10 contacts.

Google account data sharing with others

It also gives you the option to choose who gets the access to what information.

Select what you want to share

google account data sharing after three month account deactivation

One of the best parts about this is that you can also leave personalized messages for your contacts. I’d definitely leave a message for my trusted contacts (to make sure to make them laugh one last time).

Set an Autoreply

This lets you set an autoreply to whoever sends you an email after your preset inactivity period. Through this autoreply, you can let them know that you are no more (along with a joke for the old times’ sake?).

auto reply after no reply on Gmail

Delete the account if you want to

If you don’t want to keep your account active at all, you have the option to delete it. Deleting an account will delete all your posts on other platforms made through this account.

The trusted contacts will then be able to view the information you provided them the access to for up to three months before your account gets deleted along with all its contents.

google account lock after death option


Account Settings

Other than setting up memorial accounts, Facebook also lets you decide who to give access to your account after you die.

Go to Settings> General settings

Facebook Legacy contact option in settings


Select Manage account

Add a friend you want to set as your legacy contact. That friend will be sent an email explaining to them what it entails. However, you also have the option to delete your account permanently after you die.

Legacy contact option on Facebook

Your legacy contact becomes the administrator of your account. They also gain access to everything on your account.

Twitter, on the other hand, allows the relatives to request the deactivation of the account of the deceased. They will be asked to provide proof in the form of the Death Certificate as a confirmation step.

All in all, once your physical presence ceases to exist, your virtual presence ought not to linger on. Many people prepare their digital wills, and I think that’s a very smart move. It takes only a few minutes. Try taking out some time from your endless Instagram scrolling today for this.

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