What to do with your Google account after your death

Do you have a Google account? Thanks to the Inactive Account tool, you can decide what will happen to your profile in case you don't log in for a long time

Until a few years ago, this was a non-existent problem. First of all because digital devices and online accounts didn't have the relevance they do today. Secondly, because the issue of death linked to that of online identity was not as pressing as it is today. It's no coincidence that various websites and social networks have begun to develop services for the afterlife and digital inheritance.

Facebook, for example, has rethought memorial accounts dedicated to deceased people, while giving active users the ability to appoint a "digital heir" who can manage the profile in case the rightful owner dies for any reason. Even Google provides its users with a similar tool, useful to manage their account (and the data it contains) in case of death or prolonged absence. It's called Dormant Account Management and here's how it works.

What's the point of Google Dormant Account Management

Accessible from the Google Account control panel, Dormant Account Management lets you choose what to do with your email and the data in your account once it's no longer in use. Of course, inactivity isn't necessarily related to the death of the account's "owner": it could be that you no longer need a Gmail email address, or you've switched from Android to iPhone and haven't logged into your profile for a long time.

Thanks to this tool you can choose after how long the account becomes inactive; enter a phone number and another email address to contact in case of emergency; indicate people to contact for managing the account in deactivation (up to a maximum of 10 contacts); set an automatic response to send to anyone who contacts you via email; choose whether to make the account inactive or delete it.

How Google Inactive Account Management Works

As mentioned, to choose how to manage your unused Google account you need to access the Google Inactive Account Management tool. From here, a sort of guided path starts, thanks to which you can set your Big G profile preferences.

First of all, you'll be asked to indicate after how long Google should consider your account inactive. By default, Google suggests a period of 12 months, with a "notice" to suspend three months in advance. By going to edit, you can choose between 3 months, 6 months, 12 months or 18 months, with the notice period "adjusting" accordingly.

In the next step you'll have to indicate the "heir contacts", a list of 10 people (maximum number, but you can also choose not to indicate any names) who will receive a notification message the moment the account is deactivated or deleted. In addition, you can create an automatic response that all those who write to the deactivated email address will receive.

As a last step you will be asked what will happen to your Google account if it exceeds the time threshold you set in the first step. You can choose, as mentioned, to keep the account even if it is deactivated, or delete it altogether. At this point you'll see a message summarizing the choices you've just made: by confirming it, you'll activate the inactive Google account management plan.