We all need to make arrangements for what happens after we are gone. We need to prepare for our personal effects including what is on the computer. Only half of American adults have a will. Far less have prepared for their digital afterlife.
As we have discussed in previous blogs, you need to keep a list of your user name, password and email for all of the important sites like bank accounts, investments, social media and where you shop. This list can be written or on your computer as long as someone knows how to find it if you are not able.
According to the Radicati Group, over 3.8 billion email accounts exist. The average person has at least two email accounts. With those emails, you are probably buying things, monitoring your bank account, checking investments, communicating with friends and paying bills. People also store images, word processing or other files on Google Docs, Dropbox, OneDrive or other cloud services.
Do you understand what will happen to your bank account when you pass away with automatic bill payments set up for every month? You should. Once money stops going into the bank account, things will change.
There is some confusion about who can receive your digital assets when you are gone. Things like downloaded software, music and apps do not simply transfer after someone dies. Those lengthy “terms of service” contracts where you automatically click “agree” when you download something or sign up for a site, have tiny print included about what happens when you are no longer able to log into your account.
Best Bequest is a company that allows you to designate account activators, account trustees and media heirs for your digital information, photos, videos and more. You will have access to a digital safe deposit box where you can put anything you want someone to be able to access. Leave passage into your digital life to friends, family or business contacts. What will happen to your Facebook account when you are gone? Assign someone to either manage or delete it. Siftsort, Entrustet, and SecureSafe are other companies that offer similar services.
Caring for your digital afterlife may sound like a crazy idea, but it is serious business. You do want family and/or friends to be able to access your photos… or not. Consider all of the possibilities. By organizing your digital life, you will gain peace of mind knowing that someone will be able to take care of these things for you.