Do you have a Facebook page or Instagram account? Do you have online accounts where you store videos, photos, emails, recipes and other items? How about digital music or books such as Amazon? Do you have seller accounts on sites such as eBay, Amazon or Etsy? How about a personal blog? Perhaps you use Google Drive, Amazon cloud, icloud or similar online storage services. Do you own any domain names?
If you have any of these types of accounts you have a digital legacy that is yours and has value. Some of it you may want deleted and destroyed upon your passing and some sites will do so upon notification of your death. But what about the things you’d like your family or other persons to have?
If you digital items you’d like your family to have you need to make arrangements for that transfer of ownership now. Unlike physical property, your digital property does not automatically become part of your estate that can be divided amongst your heirs.
So how do you protect those accounts you wish to protect?
Create a list – List all your financial, social, photo, seller, storage, email, PayPal, streaming media, recipe and other online accounts. It’s probably a good time to list any buyer accounts so they can be closed as well. This is especially true if those companies have payment information stored. Don’t forget any online subscriptions that should be cancelled. Include log in information if you want someone to have access. Store this in a very safe place. A thumb drive stored in a safe deposit box is extremely safe. Alternatively you can give the thumb drive to a trusted person. You can also create a document and store it in your My Family Vault account.
Don’t forget your hardware – The files on your computer, tablet and phone are useless if no one can get to them. Be sure to include passwords to your electronic devices on your list.
Social profiles – Until the company knows you’re deceased, anyone who has log in information can access it. To protect those photos you want safe, your best bet is to periodically back them up to a secure storage that guarantees legacy access – like MyFamilyVault.com.
Emails – At some point after your death, your email accounts will be closed by the service hosting them. However, if there are some emails you would like saved, or the accounts reviewed by a trusted person, you will want to ensure log in information is stored as in #1. You might also want to have someone send an email notifying your contact book of your passing.
Music and ebooks – Review site policies where you store your items. Music stored on Amazon and iTunes should be downloaded and backed up elsewhere to prevent loss if your account is closed. Electronic books present a challenge. I checked with Amazon and ownership cannot be transferred and books are only accessible to Kindles registered to your account. You may want to grant access after your passing to someone who can add their Kindle to your account to access books. Books bought other places may be transferable. Again, check with your source and plan accordingly.
Recipes – The standard rule of thumb here is the same with other digital media; check site policies. You may be able to pass on log in information. A better idea would be to consolidate your favorites where you can set up permanent storage that can be given away. KeyIngredient.com, our sister company, offers the best recipe organization and sharing on the Web and any recipes stored there can be backed up to your My Family Vault account so they are in one, safe place that can be left to loved ones.
Blogs and Domains – You may want to arrange for notice of your passing to be posted on your blogs or websites. Detail how you want these assets handled for your executor along with the information needed to access them.
The final word on protecting your digital assets
In summary, part of your estate and legacy planning includes creating a list of all your digital accounts, how to access them and what you would like to happen upon your passing. Be sure to store all lists and instructions where you store your other estate documentation such as your will and insurance policies. Keeping a digital copy of these important legacy documents in a safe, guaranteed accessible place adds an additional layer of security and convenience for your heirs.
MyFamilyVault.com can serve as permanent storage for many of your most important assets as well as digital copies of your estate plan and related documentation. Like many other aspects of your life, a little advance preparation can make what will surely be a painful and difficult time easier for your family.
Create your permanent online vault today. Start now.