You may think that you are financially and legally prepared for the great hereafter- but have you taken virtually everything into consideration? What will happen to the $200 credit on Paypal, the images and content on social media pages, online business accounts, and e-mail accounts? There are also the 2,000 photos and 500 Word documents on your computer, your iTunes collection, digital book library, all the information and apps on your phone, and all the information on various digital storage mediums to consider.
Because of security issues, sites go to great lengths to protect a member’s password information. A court order could be needed to have access to certain accounts. This may seem like no big deal for a Facebook account, but what if all your utility bills are paperless, your bank account is online, and your credit card bills are also paperless? How will your successors have access to this information?
The American Bar Association offers the following tips:
- Inventory digital assets: Make a list of all your hardware, software, the file structure on your computer, online presence (Web sites, blogs, social media, cloud storage), online accounts (shopping, credit, investment, banking and e-mail accounts), and business information.
- Identify a virtual trustee: Who do you want going through your digital assets when you are no longer around? You can name that person in an official capacity within a will.
- Provide access: Despite all the warnings, you should write your passwords down (and update them regularly) and put them in a safe place such as a safe-deposit box.
- Provide instructions: If you want online social media contacts to be notified of your demise, a special post on your log or Web site, or want a blog or Web site preserved, be sure to leave specific instructions.