With the belated acknowledgment that even technology users will die, Google launched its new Inactive Account Manager, allowing those its customers designate as "trusted contacts" to retrieve online information after a certain amount of time of inactivity.
For almost three years, we’ve been blogging about the importance of creating a VAIL – Virtual Asset Instruction Letter – as part of your estate plan, so that your fiduciaries (personal representative, conservator or trustee) can access your financial and personal accounts, information, photos, etc. It’s nice to see the online providers finally catching up.
Unfortunately, push back from online providers derailed recent efforts to change Oregon law to confirm that when a fiduciary accesses online accounts to further their legally mandated responsibilities to marshal, protect, and distribute the estate, that they are not committing a cybercrime by doing so. The online providers claimed federal law prohibits released online information to third parties, yet Google then launched their new program that does exactly that.
It’s an interesting conversation that must continue with those that have the power to change federal law. And if online providers simply change their Terms of Service Agreements to confirm that a fiduciary is an authorized user, the issue could be easily resolved.