“For many people, their lives are entwined with technology. Their lives and experiences are recorded to cell phones, social media and their computers. It is this digital life that needs preservation after an untimely death.”
Folks may consider how to handle their homes and other assets during estate planning, but what about your digital life? WFXL.com’s recent article asks “What happens to digital lives after death?” The article explains how and why to start planning for your digital data, a task that goes along with basic estate planning. This planning is important to make things easy for your loved ones after you’re gone and to take care of the expenses. If they have a list of your digital accounts, it will be much easier when they need to have the services canceled after your death. It also gives your family an opportunity to cherish your photos and other memories.
Taking some time now to make a record of this information and storing it on an external hard drive can save time and money in the future. Trying to recover locked digital data, like pictures, can be extremely expensive, not to mention frustrating.
First, evaluate what you need and how much you would like to store. If it’s just keeping passwords safe, you might use a journal or a notebook. If you want to back up pictures or videos, try a flash drive or an external hard drive. Store the backups off-site in a security deposit box, or keep the files hosted via a reputable cloud service.
Be sure to reference that information in your will, but don’t list your passwords. The will is a public document after your death and will be visible to everyone. Just make mention of where the information is stored.
Social media, like other accounts, would continue to exist online, unless you have a plan established for it. Most companies have pages or ways to help dictate how your accounts are handled, after your passing. But not all social media sites have plans publicly in place for dealing with the situation of a family member's death. If not, contact the company directly.
Make sure you record passwords or that a trusted family member has access to the list. With some planning and a few dollars, your loved ones' digital life will live on after death.
Reference: WFXL.com (May 10, 2017) “What happens to digital lives after death?”