It’s a topic to politely avoid, and preparation for death is a chore many people leave until it’s too late – leading to feuding children
, estate disputes and distraught partners.
Now there’s an extra layer of difficulty to dying.
Many of our family heirlooms, mementos and assets are digital.
For starters, consider your social media profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter; email on Gmail or Outlook; photos and journals on Dropbox or Google Drive; entertainment on Netflix and iTunes; and money in online bank accounts or cryptocurrency wallets.
What is a Digital Will?
A digital will is a document that instructs loved ones on how to manage your digital presence and assets after you’re gone.
Many companies have unclear policies in the event of someone’s passing, resulting in lengthy wait times, stressful processes, and endless hand-offs from one representative to another just to reset a password or get access to an account.
Plan your Digital Legacy & Activate Digital Heirs
Google: You can add up to 10 trusted contacts, who will receive an email that bequeaths files stored on a Google service if your account is left unattended between three and 18 months.
Facebook: You may nominate a legacy contact to manage your profile after your death. This could be memorialising the page, or closing it.
Instagram: Provides an option to memorialise an account, which means nobody can log in or change it. To memorialise an account, anyone can provide a link to an obituary or news article reporting the death. You can also request account closure.
Twitter: The only option is to deactivate the profile by submitting a form with information on the deceased, including a death certificate.
LinkedIn: Executors, colleagues or friends of the deceased can notify LinkedIn that someone has passed away, so their account can be closed and the profile removed.
iTunes: Music files, television series and films are licensed, rather than owned, and cannot be bequeathed.
Using Password Managers
Organising a digital will is essential, but it does take time. One way to simplify and automate the process is to use a password manager to collect all of this information in one, secure place.
A password manager like LastPass
safeguards all of your website accounts, and the usernames and passwords you use to access them. You can also store notes for other types of important information, and even attach documents and photos
And with LastPass, you can designate an Emergency Access contact
for your account. That means your trusted contact could request access to your vault should you pass or become incapacitated.
I personally use Lastpass for business and personal life but other comparable options include 1Password
. My recommendation is to just get started, don’t aim for perfection, something is better than nothing in this ever evolving digital world.