There was an article in my local Sunday paper about leaving digital information along with your will, power of attorney, and financial contacts.
A lot of that information is increasingly online. Death in the digital world has made dying a bit more complicated. So you need to leave directions on how to access your online life. Yes, I know, one more thing to think about before you pass out of this mortal coil.
Create a record of your cyber assets, including:
- Domain names, websites and blogs.
- Photos, videos and documents stored on sharing sites such as Flickr, YouTube and Google Docs.
- Email accounts
- Online bank, credit card and investment accounts, and other such accounts that typically require a password.
- Accounts with online companies sich as Facebook, Twitter, and eBay.
- Documents, spreadsheets, photos and other such items that are stored on your computers, hard drives, DVDs, smartphones, fash drives and other offline or online servers or backup servers.
Make sure the named administrator of your estate has sufficient power of attorney to gain access to these digital assets.
Read and understand the terms of service of an online provider or service. Many websites will not allow someone to access the content if the individual is not longer alive. (Amazing). Google provides access to a deceased person’s Gmail account “in rare cases” and then only to an authorized representative. Facebook “memorilizes” an account after its user dies, meaning only confirmed friends can see the user’s profile. Facebook will process “certain special requests for verified immediate family members (and executors), including requests to remove a loved one’s account”. (That’s good to know)
Communicate to those in your life whom you trust, or to your attorney, what it is that you own, what it is that you value, and how that information can be accessed upon your death.
What the named executor of your will is not digitally savvy, you might consider appointing a special digital executor who would act on your behalf after you are gone to distribute or delete your digital assets according to your wishes.
Don’t leave your digital legacy to chance. Think about how you want to pass that on to your loved ones and make the necessary preparations.
From the Register Guard Business section Sunday, May 13, 2012. From The Dallas Morning News by Pamela Yip.