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Are you protected? We’ve got simple steps to protect your online presence after death

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Three years after Greg Prangley died, his legacy lives on.

“We didn’t know at what point if we were going to lose my dad,” Karen Prangley said, Greg’s daughter.

And what haunts her is the legacy they still can’t unlock.

“We really learned the hard way being a small business owner, he had everything in that account.”

Greg’s entire business and livelihood was tied to his Yahoo account. Two medical strokes left him unable to remember his password. And after his death, Greg’s company quickly collapsed.

“My brother and I tried to communicate with him via paper, pen, anyway to get into his email account where he ran his business from,” Karen said.

The family pleaded with Yahoo, but the company’s policy said ‘neither the Yahoo account nor any of the content is transferable even when the account owner is deceased.’

Americans digital death is a problem still in its infancy, dramatic life-changing and economic implications that could affect loved ones if a digital will isn’t prepared when one dies.

“As part of estate planning, you should set up a data executor in your will that has permission to access your account,” Dan Ackerman said, a senior editor with CNET.

Popular sites like Twitter, Google and Facebook have ways to protect your digital death, but all do require some extensive planning as well.

FACEBOOK

The company allows you to enable a ‘legacy contact.’

Facebook has made it simple.

Log onto your page, click on the triangle to access your settings.

Then go to manage account where you can edit and choose a friend.

The contact can manage your account, including posting to your timeline, changing pictures or help delete the account entirely.

TWITTER

Not everyone can access your Twitter account.

You’ll need to leave instructions with an immediate family member or whoever is authorized to act on your behalf in your will.

That person can reach out to Twitter and fill out an online form.

They’ll need a valid photo ID and copy of your death certificate.

GOOGLE

Like a will, Google allows you to set up an ‘inactive account manager.’

You can pick up to 10 different contacts to manage different aspects of your account, like photos, Gmail or YouTube.

The inactive account manager will be alerted once your account is dormant for a certain amount of time.

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