Many of us love the convenience of downloading music, films and books, but few think about what will happen to these “assets” when we die. If you knew that you would never be able to pass your digital purchases on to your loved ones, would you think twice about buying them in the first place?
In the old days we stored our treasured memories in photo albums and paper diaries. Physical things which could be passed on in a will. But now, in our online lives our memories - our thoughts, feelings and images - are scattered to the four winds of the internet, and stored on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
It’s the hypothetical scenario Megan Yip, an estate-planning attorney, gives her clients when they show up at her office in the Bay Area. She makes them think about what they would want to do with their belongings before asking them to create a catalog of everything they own. It’s a standard step in the making of a last will.
The Digital Legacy Association have developed a social media will template. This is free for members of the general public to download, save and print. Once the social media will has been completed it can be used to help ensure that your end of life and digital legacy wishes are adhered to.
Managing your digital legacy: will others be able to access your cloud-based files when you no longer can?
My father suffered a stroke in 2009 and became a different person overnight. I look to records—photos, letters, and email—in an attempt to hold on to the memory of the optimistic, social, curious, fun-loving, affectionate, and methodical person I used to know. My dad was an avid photographer, prolific letter writer, and careful record-keeper, so we have albums, letters, paper records, and diaries to draw on.
In today’s digital landscape, a person’s individual digital assets are vast. How many passwords can you think of quickly to online sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, GMail, or Twitter, off the top of your head? A recent survey by Intel Security said the average person has 27 digital passwords and that people forget, on average, at least one password a week. More and more important information — even currencies — are being stored and traded online.
According to UK report last year, a typical internet user has more than 100 separate online accounts – from online banking to social media. The study estimated that this number would almost double by 2020. Indeed, it would be unusual now for someone to die without leaving some sort of digital footprint.
Know of a resource that helps people secure their data? Submit it today