When someone passes away, there are many logistics to deal with that make the mourning process even more complicated than it already is. One of the more recent complications relates to our online presence and social media accounts: What should happen to those things when we die? This is […]
Do you “live” online? Who doesn’t? Whether you’re online for personal or business purposes, you have a digital footprint, and this online presence has needs of its own. In 2013, McAfee conducted a survey to try and determine the value of our digital legacy and digital assets. The results of the survey showed, the on average our online footprint carried a value of approximately $35,000 (in 2013 – no doubt more now).
Those who blog know their blog has personal value inherent in the sharing of knowledge, but what of the fiscal value of this digital asset? Is there a way to calculate the value of a blog? Yes, there is. “Blog Calculator” has created a nifty algorithm which generates a hypothetical value of your blog. The calculator asks a number of questions, which once answered does it’s magic and pops out a blog’s value.
While the answer provided by this site’s algorithm may be subjective, and open to interpretation (like the value of your car or home), it serves to demonstrate your blog is a digital asset with intrinsic value. Therefore, like any other asset, you have to consider the disposition of the asset should you become incapacitated or die.
1 – Disposition of your blog
The first decision to make is whether or not you want to keep the blog up and running if you are unable to do so yourself due to illness, accident or you’ve passed. Even if you desire this portion of your digital legacy to be shuttered, you should put forward a plan for your trusted designee to follow.
2 – Your designee
Selecting someone to handle things for you is no small task. Here at Red Folder, we recommend the designee be an individual with whom you have a great deal of trust. As they will be following through with your choices concerning the disposition of the blog.
Those who blog, and there are millions of you (e.g., 75+ million using WordPress according to Yoast) know that the administrative tail to your endeavor is long. Your instructions to your designee should contain the names of any blog-partners you currently have as well as guest bloggers, contributors or other site owners.
In addition, including the administrative permissions associated with your blog, unique to your hosting service, such as access credentials, two-step authentication, challenge questions should also be memorialized.
You will also want to detail, any monetary arrangements which involve the blog, is the blog syndicated, have advertising revenue or associated with affiliate programs. And you don’t want to forget to provide access to the social media accounts associated with the blog – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc. These too are a part of your digital legacy.
Rarely do we think of our online presence as an “asset,” or consider who should take over our Facebook pages, personal blogs, and other virtual accounts in the event of our death. Having a Digital Estate Plan can protect against identity theft and ensure your personal information – like photographs, documents, and conversations – fall into the hands of people you can trust.
Contact the Brooklyn office of Michael F. Kanzer & Associates, PC for guidance to ensure your digital life will live on, or die, as you see fit.
Creating this kind of plan may seem like a difficult task, but here are five steps to ensure your digital estate is covered just as completely as your physical one:
Create an inventory list of all digital assets and how to access them
For security purposes, it’s best to create two lists – one with all your account names, and another will the account passwords. This reduces the risk of an unwanted individual acquiring the document and having access to your personal information.
On this list, you will want to ensure to include account information for all social media accounts, blogs and websites, and email addresses, but also accounts that access more personal information, like online access accounts to loans, credit or debit cards, insurance accounts, or accounts that allow you to pay bills online.
Store this information in a safe place
Now that you’ve written down how to access some very important accounts and information, you’ll want to ensure it is protected from falling into the hands of someone looking to steal your identity. Store these documents somewhere password protected, or in a safety deposit box at your bank, or with someone you can trust.
Decide who will carry out your digital estate plan
Name your digital executor, or the person who will fulfill your end-of-life digital wishes, in your will. This person should be someone able to handle the sensitive information left behind, but also someone who has strong technological skills and can ensure the accounts are handled.
Choose what should happen to your digital accounts after your death
Create a list of the next steps your digital executor should take after your death. Decide if you would like your accounts to remain open, or should they be shut down.
Make sure to consider things like: What should happen to the photos on social media pages like Facebook or Flickr? Who takes control of any active websites or blogs? Do you want your Facebook page left active as a memorial?
Create a final message to share online
If you would like someone to post a final message to your friends and family after your passing, make sure to outline what that would look like. This could include a picture of you and a message to your loved ones, or a video of your life.