How to protect your online assets and digital legacy

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Protecting your online assets and digital legacy

These days, many of us are doing a lot more online than before; we email, we bank, we shop, we pay bills and we are ‘social’, hanging out on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and through this activity, we have built up quite a raft of accounts and passwords.

But have you given any thought to what would happen to your online activity and digital presence if anything was to happen to you? Would your family know of the existence of any online bank accounts that don’t come with a passbook or investments that don’t leave a paper trail? Would they know where to look for this information? Would they know what your wishes were regarding your email, social media accounts and online photo albums and how to access them? Perhaps it’s time to think about taking steps to protect your ‘digital legacy’.

Start by creating a record of any online banking and investment accounts and their passwords.

You should also create a list of all social media accounts and passwords, and specify what you would like to happen to these accounts. There is now the option to have your online presence maintained in the form of a memorial page, or perhaps you would prefer to have your accounts deleted and forgotten. For some, these accounts can become a focus for sharing memories, but is this what you would want? Some families might find this a comfort while others might find it upsetting. Be clear about your wishes.

Choose someone who you can wholeheartedly trust with this information and let them know where they can find it. If you’ve already made a will with an appointed executor, add this information to it, and then you won’t be leaving it up to your family and friends to make any decisions for you.

By making a plan, you will be protecting your online assets and digital legacy, and will save your family, executor and a solicitor from many hours of detective work, which could also save a lot of time and money.

By Fiona O’Fee

See also: Beyond the grave: have you planned your digital legacy?
Source: The Telegraph, 18 March 2015