Google has introduced what it calls an Inactive Account Manager to help with this. This lets you set up a very straightforward procedure for what should happen to your data after your account becomes inactive “for any reason.”
Here's what Google had to say about it...
Plan your digital afterlife with Inactive Account Manager
Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 12:05 PM ETPosted by Andreas Tuerk, Product Manager
Not many of us like thinking about death — especially our own. But making plans for what happens after you’re gone is really important for the people you leave behind. So today, we’re launching a new feature that makes it easy to tell Google what you want done with your digital assets when you die or can no longer use your account.
The feature is called Inactive Account Manager — not a great name, we know — and you’ll find it on your Google Account settings page. You can tell us what to do with your Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if your account becomes inactive for any reason.
For example, you can choose to have your data deleted — after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity. Or you can select trusted contacts to receive data from some or all of the following services: +1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube. Before our systems take any action, we’ll first warn you by sending a text message to your cellphone and email to the secondary address you’ve provided.
We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife — in a way that protects your privacy and security — and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone.
There is no comeback to recriminations at that point.
Taking care of our digital estate planning is a good move from Google that will give us some measure of privacy and determination over our digital footprint after we're gone.