digital afterlife

Online Will Writing Blog Article
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    Business in Wills
    Business in Wills

    It is increasingly important to leave family with access to your online life, but organising virtual assets presents some hurdles and America are leading the way in addressing the problems.

    In the morning, many of us reach first for our screens. We check our ‘phones before we get out of bed. We scroll through our inbox before we have a coffee. Our News Feed, our Twitter feed, it’s all part of the standard morning routine.

    In fact, it’s pretty hard to picture a normal workweek, let alone a life, without emails, status updates, and Amazon purchases.

    But have you ever thought about what happens to all of your accounts when that inevitable day comes and you can’t log onto them yourself anymore? America thinks it’s time to take the problem seriously. As Facebook rounds the billionuser mark the American government added creating “a social media will” to their list of official personal finance recommendations.

    USA.gov advises folks to appoint someone they trust as an online executor and to hand over all passwords and a clear statement about how you’d like each of your accounts handled after your death.

    For instance; would you like your Timeline to end when you do (in which case, you better leave that online executor clear instructions to close the account)? Or, would you rather have your profile “memorialised” — Facebook-speak for an account that lives on, so friends can periodically post messages about how much they miss you? (Twitter currently allows family members to remove a person’s account with proper proof of their death, but declined to comment further on anything relating to social media wills or the death of Twitterers).

    Gerry Beyer, a national expert in estate and trust issues, believes that all adults should get their virtual assets in order, sooner rather than later. After all, think about the mess we’re all potentially leaving behind.

    From banking passwords to Ebay and LinkedIn log-in’s, without some sort of longrange plan, our laptops are a jumble of personal and financial data our heirs can’t possibly make heads or tail of.

    “Sorting through a deceased’s online life for the important things can be just as daunting as cleaning out the house of a hoarder,” Beyer says. In the old days, you would never leave your kids without a safedeposit key, so why lock them out of your online possessions?

    But organising virtual assets can present some significant security hurdles. For starters, a savvy Internet user probably has numerous usernames and passwords for different accounts, probably changing them with some regularity — so keeping everything current can get difficult. Also, by this point, most of us are wary about writing all of this kind of stuff down in a single document, in case our private information falls into the wrong hands.

    At the end of the day, everyone agrees the worst thing for users to do is nothing at all, leaving the fate of their online accounts up to the legislature or a frustrated family member. It might seem almost antisocial but next time you log onto Pinterest or Instagram take a moment and think about who you’d like to leave all those pictures to or if you’d rather take those accounts with you when you go.

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    Matt Walkden Will Writer

    About Matt Walkden

    I am a Professional Will Writer and I offer a small number of other products that complement my Will Writing such as Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPA’s), Fixed Price Estate Administration, often called Probate and some Property Products such as changing a family home from Joint owners to Tenants in Common.

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