One of the questions we’re frequently asked: how can we set up our phones and online accounts so that a trusted loved one can access them in case of our incapacity or death?
Create A Legacy Contact: Apple
Apple makes the process relatively straightforward. If you have an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or another Apple device, you can create one or more legacy contacts. This is someone you designate to have access to the data in your Apple account. It can be anyone at all—or multiple people. To get access to your information, they’ll need the special code or access key that is created when you designate them as a legacy contact plus a copy of your death certificate.
The precise data your legacy contact can access depends on what you store online in Apple’s iCloud system. It’s likely to include contacts and email, and even health data, if you so choose. For more information and how to set this up, see the Apple webpage on legacy contacts.
Designate An Inactive Account Manager: Google
Google’s process is a little different. For those who use Google products or Android devices, you can set up what they call an inactive account manager. This is a person who is automatically notified when you stop using your Google or Android account for a period of time. That person will be sent a link with instructions on how to download your information. Google allows you to customize the information they can access. For more information and how to set this up, see the Google webpage on inactive account managers.
Set A Digital Legacy Contact: Password Management Software
Many password management apps—software that stores all of your passwords for you, like 1Password and LastPass—have digital legacy options, too. Each one is a bit different; you can do a quick Google search or reach out to your tech support to get the specific information you need to set this up.
Some apps allow you to give full or partial control to the vault that contains your passwords, either permanently or for a limited time. The important thing to remember is that technology isn’t standardized and the rules can change more frequently than we’d like. Each system has its own unique set of rules and needs to be kept up-to-date.
Where To Start
Creating a list of your key accounts and designating a legacy contact are the first steps. If you’d like help, please contact us to set up a consultation. Or, if you are or you become a JM LAW client, you can enroll in JM LAW CARES, our client estate and legacy planning maintenance program, which is a proactive way to adapt your plan to changes in estate and tax laws and regulations, your health, and your family dynamics.
This post was created by Jessica Marchegiano, founder of JM Law and senior estate planning attorney.
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Disclaimer: Materials prepared by JM LAW, PLLC are for general informational purposes only. Educational material does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not an offer to represent you. You should not act or refrain from acting based on information provided.