Even though we’re living so much more of our lives online, very few people plan for what will happen to everything that exists online when they die.
Whilst this may seem like an odd topic to discuss, it’s becoming more and more important. Recently Apple requested a court order from a widow in the US so she could access her dead husband’s iPad and Apple ID. In another case here in the UK, a man who was left an iPad by his mother when she died was refused access to her ID by Apple, meaning the iPad is now completely useless.
Once you start thinking through the implications of your digital life, you should become quickly convinced of the reason to act sooner rather than later.
You’ll probably have at least one social media account, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat. In addition, you’ve probably got online banking, passcodes on your phone, tablet and laptop along with treasured family photos and other items saved in the Cloud.
So what can you do to protect your digital assets and make sure your digital inheritance can be delivered?
The legalities around how we deal with digital assets has not kept pace with how much time we all spend online and how much of our lives are now stored online or on the Cloud, accessible only by passwords. As mentioned above, companies have very strict policies on providing access to loved ones and family members so it’s vital to plan ahead for how to deal with this.
Some social media platforms have recognised how important it is to allow its users to name a digital heir for their account.
Google allows you to name up to 10 trusted people to be contacted if your account is inactive. They are allowed access if you’ve given permission for this to happen. You can read more about this here.
Instagram has also thought ahead about what happens to someone account when they die. Once you die, your family members can memorialise the account. This means that the account cannot be logged into, but all the posts, photos and videos will stay on Instagram. You can’t do arrange this before you die, but you can leave instructions on how to do this by checking here.
Facebook also allows you to appoint a legacy contact who can memorialise your account. They won’t be allowed to log into your account, but they can write a pinned post, respond to new friend requests and update your profile picture and cover photo. They can also ask for your account to be deleted. Find out more about how to add a legacy contact here.
This is only for social media though and there are many more accounts and passwords that are vital to pass on in a digital legacy to make managing your affairs much easier for those left behind.
Along with all our digital passwords, you shouldn’t forget to make a note of:
- Computer passwords
- Passcodes or passwords for your phone or tablet
- Voicemail PIN
- Bank account numbers and PINs for all cards
- WiFi passwords
- Subscriptions such as Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.
You can manage all of this effectively by using a password manager such as LastPass. Not only will this help you to keep all of your passwords safely, you can also name an Emergency Access contact for your LastPass account.
By having an Emergency Access contact listed on your account, if you are incapacitated or you die, your contact can request access to your password vault. The only other thing is that your emergency contact will need their own LastPass account to be allowed to access yours. Read more about emergency access to LastPass here.
Many people we speak with do find it a real challenge to track down passwords, logins and all the information they need to make the administration of an estate much easier.
Do all you can to leave your digital legacy in order.
For more information about making a will and your digital legacy, call now on 0117 926 4121 or make a Free Online Enquiry.