Tips, Advice and How to Protect Your Digital Assets

Tips, Advice and How to Protect Your Digital Assets

protecting your digital assets and online legacy - tips and tricks for what to do when you die

Tips, Advice and How to Protect Your Digital Assets

Hey there and welcome. How’s your summer going? I can’t believe we are nearly back to school and autumn is upon us. Which then means Christmas. And Oreo Christmas puds! And this in turn means a lot of blog post planning and writing! It’s been three years now since I started the blog. It’s grown so much too, from a simple space for sharing fun food ideas, to a document of our lives with little B. When I think about it, there’s a LOT of stuff online that I own.

protecting your digital assetts and online legacy - tips and tricks

Trust Me, You’ll Have a Lot of Online Assets!

It’s not something I’ve really considered before but if I died, what on earth would happen to all that “stuff”?! And by stuff I mean my blog, my social accounts, my multiple email addresses, bank accounts, PayPal account, online storage, shopping, music – there’s loads! More importantly who would sort out all that stuff? By default I guess it would be the hubby but what could I do to get all my digital assets in order upfront?

To put it bluntly, your digital assets would be stuck in limbo if you don’t specific what happens with them after you die. A morbid thought I know but just have a think for a few seconds about all the things you own online. Think about the amount of passwords and user names you keep track of.

Loads right?

protecting your digital assetts and online legacy - tips and tricks

How to Protect Your Digital Assets

Today I’m sharing with you a few tips on what you can do to protect your online legacy. And also, what you can do to help out your loved ones, if they had to deal with everything online on your behalf in the event you were to die. SunLife also has a handy digital legacy tool where you can specify your digital wishes. You can also read a bit more about what happens to your online accounts if you were to die.

Start With a List

As with everything, make a list of all the accounts you own, as well as devices – so think phones, tablets, laptops, smart TVs and games consoles. From this list, you can then start documenting user names and passwords.

Have a really good think because you probably have a larger digital footprint than you think. Remember to include anything like cloud storage and back up such as Google Drive and Dropbox. Also consider online accounts for managing household bills.

protecting your digital assets and online legacy - tips and tricks

Document Email

Like most people, you probably have a few email addresses. These often serve as backups for lost passwords. Make sure you record your email details and passwords, and don’t rely just on a work email to access online accounts. Think LinkedIn. Your work email may be disconnected pretty quickly.

Estimate Value

Things like your PayPal, any crypto currency accounts, savings, pensions accounts all have a financial value. But also think about things that hold sentimental value such as photos. Even things like a blog or Instagram account with a large following will hold some kind of value.

protecting your digital assets and online legacy - tips and tricks

Assign Your List

Once you have your list, decide who takes control of these accounts should you die. You can you trust to deal with all your online accounts?

You may want to give your assigned person some sort of instructions as well. For example if you have a Facebook account, do you want it closed down?

What Next?

I know it isn’t overly cheerful but it’s probably a convo you want to have with loved ones at some point. These three tips are there to get you started.

protecting your digital assets and online legacy - tips and tricks for what to do when you die

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post.

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How do companies deal with digital assets post death?

How do companies deal with digital assets post death?

How do large digital companies deal with subscriptions and/or accounts post death? What happens to the public’s copious amount of photos, videos, messages and documents on social media?

In as little as two years (from 2012 to 2014), the public have produced more data than in all of human civilisation before that – and is still increasing at an exponential rate.

While digital assets can take many forms such as online photos, subscriptions, music libraries, social network profiles or email accounts – the majority of us do not have physical records of them.

It is therefore not clear what people’s digital presences will look like in years to come but we can be certain that an ever-increasing number of people will be creating and accumulating more and more data until they pass away.

So, how do companies deal with such assets after death and how do they help and/or support digital estate planning?

Unfortunately, as an example, the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon, do not make it easy to find this out. However, a company called ‘Everplans’ provides instructions, advice and assistance on how to close an Amazon account when someone dies for their basic account and Amazon Prime accounts.

Everplans is the web’s leading resource for planning and organising your life, it enables you to create, store and share important documents that loved ones might need in the future in the event of death – which includes all assets in digital form. An Everplans’ Digital Estate Plan can be created in five easy steps and a digital executor appointed who carries out loved ones’ wishes for digital assets.

However, Social media do offer support and advice when it comes to dealing with accounts post death. Facebook instituted a policy a few years ago regarding how to handle profiles of deceased individuals – where family members can choose one of two options, either close it or turn the account into a memorial profile.

More and more online social networks are adopting rules to handle the situation such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram whereby proof of death, ID and possibly form filling is required to deactivate the account or ‘memorialise’ the accounts of deceased users.

While companies are showing signs of helping and advising on how to deal with accounts after someone dies, they are still behind the times. Currently, the majority of people have to adhere to “Terms and Conditions” of each digital service offered. An example of this is Apple’s Itunes where currently everything bought expires upon death – which shows company legislation needs to catch up to reality!

As a private client professional, have you ever dealt with digital assets in estate planning?

How to settle your loved one’s digital estate

Giving up the ghost online and what it means to you

A GHOST tour in Edinburgh was where I first discovered the morbid truth about why Victorian headstones often had bells attached.

Buried by mistake? Ring urgently for service.

We’ve come a long way since then, and thanks to modern medicine can be certain when someone’s been ‘called home’ before doing the needful.

If you’re squirming a bit in your seat at the thought, it’s natural. The D word is nobody’s favourite and talking about it is the biggest slap in the face to any healthy dose of self-denial about what’s at the ‘end of the line’.

Anyway, let’s say you are doing a bit of planning and you’ve sorted out what to wear, who to invite and all that, then as a child of the Digital Age you must also put on your ‘to do’ list who can access your social media accounts and other digital assets when you’re gone.

Apparently it’s a bit of a grey area in legal circles and they want to do something about it.

At the helm is the NSW Law Reform Commission which his reviewing laws affecting life beyond your digital death.

Initially they’ve called for submissions from the legal profession and later in the year the public can throw in their two cents worth (and for those born after 1992, when the two-cent coin was demonetised, it means your opinion).

When making the review public, Attorney General Mark Speakman said: “In today’s hyper-connected world, an unprecedented amount of work and socialising occurs online, yet few of us consider what happens to our digital assets once we’re gone or are no longer able to make decisions.

“This is leading to confusion and complexity as family, friends and lawyers are left to untangle digital asset ownership issues, applying laws that were developed long before the arrival of email, blogs, social media and cryptocurrency.”

What the LRC is more worried about is who can access your digital stuff, but although it’s inappropriate to laugh at a time like this, this quote from Speakman was just a little bit ironic.

He said: “When a loved one passes away, bureaucratic hurdles and legal uncertainty are the last thing families and friends feel like confronting, so we need clear and fair laws to deal with these 21st Century problems.”

Bureaucratic hurdles and legal uncertainty are what families and friends are confronted with when a loved one passes away.

I suppose we’ve really only got ourselves to blame, being the most connected of all countries in the world. So, the review will focus on NSW, Commonwealth and international laws, including those relating to intellectual property, privacy, contract, crime, estate administration, wills, succession and assisted-decision making.

The LRC will scrutinise (their words, sounds expensive) the policies and terms of service agreements of social media companies and other digital service providers.

Facebook is at a bit of an advantage here already, having had lots of experience in this area.

On a more serious note, social media companies do handle sites of the deceased differently, from memorialising them to simply shutting them down.

Having a say in what you’d like to happen, particularly given there can be a story of a whole life recorded there, is important.

If you haven’t made arrangements for anyone to take control of your sites or access private emails, the LRC is considering whether additional privacy protections are needed.

The issue of ownership of digital assets upon death cuts across many different areas of law which is why it’s not clear and fair but complicated.

Here I was thinking I’d just leave a list of my 70,000 passwords for someone else to troll through my social media, blogs and websites if they could actually be bothered.

But really, who could forgo the opportunity to plan ahead by scheduling posts and memes to appear long after I’m gone, saying things like ‘I can see what you’re doing’ or ‘There is no Planet-B’.

Visit www.lawreform.justice.nsw.gov.au to read more.

Five Things To Do When Planning For Your Digital Death

Five Things To Do When Planning For Your Digital Death

Most adults should have a legal will that provides instructions on what should happen to your assets in the event of your death. A will is not just for old people – anyone can suffer an illness or be involved in an accident that leads to their death. And while wills were principally focussed with physical goods, many of us hold valuable digital assets that might become inaccessible when you die. What happens to those?

#1 User names and passwords

In a sense, these are the easy ones. Most of us probably have more user accounts on different services than we can count. But there are some key ones – things like online banking, share trading accounts and cryptocurrency wallets.

My suggestion is to write the account details down (like, on actual paper!) and seal them in an envelope that sits in another envelope that has a foreboding “Only to be opened in the event of my death” message on the front.

Then, stash that letter in a secure location such as a solicitor’s office or some other stronghold. Or give it to a trusted party like the executor of your will.

#2 Multi-factor authentication

You should be using two-factor or multi-factor authentication on every service that offers it. You’ll need to look at how each authentication service works but many have an option for having the second factor accessible from more than one place. For example, if you use Google Authenticator you could set it up on a second device.

#3 Digital assets

This is where it can get tricky. If you’re like me, you’ll have accumulated lots of music, movies and TV shows in the days before streaming services became mainstream. Unless you have physical copies of those assets, then accessing them from cloud services can become tricky.

When you buy a song or movie from a digital service, you aren’t actually buying a copy of the asset. In the majority of cases, you’re buying the right to access the content and that right is not transferable.

I’ve got a bunch of apps, movies and music that I’ve purchased through Google Play and the Apple iTunes and App Stores. The majority of that is from Apple so I;ve set up Family Sharing so my wife and kids can get access to the content I’ve purchased. So, even if I suddenly depart this existence, they can still watch my movies and listen to my tunes.

So, while the rights aren’t transferable, it may be possible for access to your digital assets to continue. But don’t forget the user accounts associated with that content as it might be needed if the content is protected with DRM.

#4 Powers of attorney

While not strictly about your digital life, providing someone you trust with financial and medical powers of attorney is pretty important. These are legal documents that allow someone to make decisions on your behalf.

For example, when my parents were ageing, financial and medical powers of attorney were distributed between me and my siblings so we could make decisions on our parents’ behalf should they become unable.

Those documents can assist with getting banks and other bodies to provide access to accounts that might otherwise be locked down.

#5 Social media

Access to social media accounts might seem trivial but it can be important. One of the hardest things to do when someone dies is notify all the affected people promptly. When death is expected, families often create a communications plan so that family and friends are informed in a timely and respectful way.

Different social networks can do this. For example, Facebook allows you to define a “legacy contact” in your personal settings. This is someone who can manage your account in case of your death or if you’re incapacitated. Choose someone you can trust and let them know they have this responsibility.

Some personal experience

My father was a very organised person.

Before he died, he prepared a folder on his computer that he told us all about. In it were copies of important documents and a point-form bio with key dates and places and other information that made the logistics of planning his funeral far less stressful.

While that was a really hard time, having that information ready was a great blessing to us. While you might not care what happens after you die, there will be people grieving and being a little organised can help them at that time.

SafeHaven is Moving to the VeChainThor Blockchain

SafeHaven is Moving to the VeChainThor Blockchain

VeChain Foundation has announced that SafeHaven will switch from the Ethereum blockchain to the VeChainThor blockchain.

The company states that it has reviewed SafeHaven’s technology, network, and background and sees “true value added to our platform by working together in partnership. This partnership will allow users access to a host of necessary solutions for continuity.”

It is rumored that one of the reasons why SafeHaven ditched the Ethereum platform is because of the associated scalability concerns.

The company states, “with the rise in cryptoassets, digital inheritance has become a critical technological need to empower entire business procedures, individual legacies, and continuity for disasters.”

The aim of the platform is to resolve the important question of how your family and spouses can gain access to your digital legacy in case of loss of life. It has four main products such as the Family Circle Plan, which gives access to a defined group, and the Business Continuity Plan, which allows “companies to distribute authority, ownership, and assets in programmable smart contracts to be executed on a set event, outcome, or procedure.” Besides, it offers its users to use two other plans called Investment Circles, which is an improvement on the multisig wallet and “is useful for people who manage group fundings” and a Safe Haven Vault, which enables data sharing with certain individuals. In both cases, you define the terms of the access.

According to VeChain, the Safe Haven Family Circle Distribution Protocol is currently being tested on the Ropsten network. VeChain also indicated that they will soon announce the date of VET private and public offerings.

In turn, SafeHaven also pledged in its own announcement “through the facilitation of VeChain Foundation, to enable VeChain X-Node holders to have methods to achieve different tiers of rights of purchase and discounts.”

Currently, VeChain trades at $3.21 USD (2.87%). Previously the company also partnered with DNV, a Norway based organization.

Read our review of Safe Haven here.