Clear rules needed for managing digital afterlife

A poor man solution

The quick and easy solution is to have your password list stored on a DropBox account, in different password vaults. The vaults can be linked in an instruction file to specific beneficiaries. Each of these vaults will have a separate password, that your digital executor may not have. I do use KeePass for this, but there are also examples of using other software such as 1Password.

The DropBox account will be linked to your digital executor so that, in proper times, the executor can retrieve the password of the DropBox on a specific safe-deposit box, so that the executor send the vaults to the appropriate beneficiaries, with a reminder of the password. You can be creative, it should be something that you and the beneficiary have in common: the name of the first teacher, using a birthday, using the name of a common boss… You have plenty of options!

An advantage of this is that the key to your assets are stored on your side, and you’re not losing your control over them. Process to update your lists is simple: you just edit it on your computer and that’s already put in safety.

Clear rules needed for managing digital afterlife

Writing instructions to your executor

Chances will be that you won’t be here anymore to tell your executor what to do with each part of your estate — I guess. Remember, your executor will have no way of knowing how you feel unless you spell it out in advance, so you will have to write a document clearly stating what to do with each item.

 

Take the example of Facebook — no, I’m sure you have an account over there. In 2009, Facebook explained the reason behind creating a memorials for people who left. These memorialized accounts can no longer be found in Suggestions or found by non-confirmed friends, and are a place for friends to share memories in remembrance. Sensitive information are removed, and nobody will access the account anymore. That’s fine, but without preparation about what you’d love to remove or to keep, potential issues can arise. Moreover, you could decide of what you’d like to be remembered for : videos, some text if you used to write, and so on. That’s also a sensitive option to avoid your facebook ghost Liking pages or updating statuses, like some do.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, if you decide to keep resources online, you may have to engage financial assets in it as well. If you want your blog, portfolio or videos online, you’ll have to pay a service provider for it, or make sure that your executor will set up a mechanism to cover those costs. Free hosting solutions can be a solution, if you are not afraid of losing your legacy if their terms change.

It may sound stupid, but once again be sure that this executor will have an easy access to each piece of the puzzle : will, password lists, instructions. It’s also a good to idea to give power of attorney to your executor, to be sure he or she will have all the necessary support from the legal point of view.

Clear rules needed for managing digital afterlife

Expert knowledge, 101

Who said that knowledge is gold?

Considering the time you spend online, it appears that you are building a digital wealth. For example, on services like Quora or StackOverflow, you are truly building a online expert, who can be recognized by thousands of followers and build strong relationship with some.

Contributing to coding projects, as your GitHub account enables you to do, also makes you an expert in a field where only a few people are experts. Consider the code you might have left on GitHub. Do you want it to be part of your online estate?

In all these case, you have been building an identity that made you a reference as well as a network of relationships. You’ll have to spend some time to think about the becoming of these assets after your departure. Do you want to close the accounts, erase your information, or let it be for some time accessible to everyone looking for knowledge?

You’ll have to be sure to write clear instruction the the becoming of your social network accounts. They can be deleted, left as a memorial, or curated : it’s up to you.

Clear rules needed for managing digital afterlife

Professional data, 101

If you are an employee, chances are that your company does have some solution to access your mails, projects correspondence, etc, so it’s not a huge problem for you there. Concerning online freelancers, you may have money left on freelancer websites,

projects ongoing, with customers waiting. It could be a good idea to leave an access and appropriate instructions to these resources to make sure that everything can be closed properly.

Business owners also have responsibilities there. Of course, online financial assets have to be considered, but you will have to list account management tools, project management websites, advertising contracts… How can one be sure that the business can still be done if some people are not granted access? There, you can still prepare documents listing the business online account, latest business plans/business models, instructions for your staff.

A common example is the case of invoices and clients records being stored on a password protected medium. In this situation, it is quite difficult to settle business affairs without using a “digital forensic” or a hacker.

Clear rules needed for managing digital afterlife

eBook: table of content.

BOOK

I. Introduction

II. Good practices

III. Steps to follow: an audit

  • 1. Do an online cartography
  • 2. Remove what you don’t use
  • 3. Cloud what you can
  • 4. Update a password list
  • 5. And do it regularly

IV. To be prepared if sh*t happen

  • Prepare a will executor
  • A trendy alternative
  • Prepare a digital legacy locker
  • Do you want a physical locker ?
  • Prepare your data flows today
  • Write out instructions for each package
  • The Poor Man solution
  • Get to know more

V. Bye

  • Beware !
  • Thanks!
  • Long live the King (or Queen)
  • BONUS
  • A service checklist

List of services // digital legacy tools 

Death policies of your the different services you may use