Identity Theft Safeguard

The death of a loved one is never easy

The death of a loved one is never easy. When my wife’s mother passed away a few years ago it was especially difficult for our family because my mother-in-law and wife were extremely close. They would talk on the phone every day or see each other and share stories, bits of news regarding the kids or other conversations that only a mother and daughter can share.

Her passing left a tremendous void in our family, and although I am blessed in that both of my parents are still alive, as an estate attorney I can guarantee two things: 1) families and friends feel a tremendous loss when a mother, father, sibling, child or friend passes away, and 2) as much as we try to avoid the issue, we will all pass in the future leaving behind someone who cares deeply for us.

Every time I meet with a family to work on an estate I express my sympathies for their loss and try to accommodate them during this most difficult process. Inevitably, the surviving children or relatives read the Last Will and Testament and then ask me questions. How does this work? What does this mean? Since I am trained to follow through on the intentions of the testator (the decedent who left a Will), the family members find very little comfort in the last “words” of their loved one being included in a document with other legal jargon such as “residuary estate” or “beneficiaries”.  I quickly realized a Last Will and Testament (or a Trust) are not the words of the deceased loved one – rather, they are the words of an attorney who is bound by an unwritten rule: “use traditional legal wording and be as detailed as possible because that is what attorneys do.”

It occurred to me that surviving family members (such as my wife and the countless clients who sit at my table), who spend so much time communicating with mothers/fathers/siblings and friends during life, have no options to re-live or participate in a spontaneous conversation with those who have passed during the days, weeks, months or years after a loss.  From that point I imagined many would invite the opportunity to communicate (in a realistic fashion) with a parent, sibling, child, relative or friend who is gone. Although I have lost grandparents, I would certainly like my mother and father to create messaging for me that I can interact with in the future….whether to wish me a “Happy Birthday” or to remind me of “that time we took the train to California.”  In fact, what if my parents could create messaging with photos, video, or even audio messages that can be delivered and listened to as a spontaneous message on arbitrary dates (“Hi son, just wanted you to know I love you very much and am very proud of you”).

I asked my wife, if she could receive a text or email message from her Mom wishing a Happy Birthday or if she could message her Mom to say how much she missed her, would she want to engage in that type of messaging? My wife answered “that would be amazing.”

With this in mind, I set out on a path toward building a website application that allows all of us who are living to prepare an account that can be activated and interacted with by those who we designate as survivors. This concept is something I refer to as “survivor messaging” or “legacy media”.  Although “legacy media” presently refers to the old style of media (newspapers, magazines and print), I believe it is more accurately defined as our ability to leave a “legacy” (a gift) to our heirs/survivors in the form of interactive, digital media (as opposed to “social media” which involves the immediate communication between two individuals).

After approximately 20 months of planning, drafts, drawings, narratives, patent applications, and meetings with our software company, was born and we are extremely happy to offer Free and Premium subscriptions to those who may want to begin creating an interactive account for the benefit of survivors.

Perhaps the biggest question we have as humans is whether our deceased parents, family and friends understand how they will be missed, how much they are loved and if they are proud of our accomplishments. Through Latertalk, we have the ability to communicate those thoughts to our loved ones through text/email, photo, video and audio formats on various dates throughout the years after our passing. None of us want to leave our loved ones without a legacy…Latertalk allows us to plan for the future by creating an interactive legacy for the benefit of ourselves and our survivors.  Further, Latertalk can afford subscribers the ability to convey other information such as financial information, accounts, passwords/usernames and other private information that they wish to communicate only in the event of the subscriber’s death (see “Digital Death Guide” and recommendations for content therein).

Many who visit may think “I don’t need to create an account now” or “there is no reason to spend a few dollars each month to maintain an interactive digital legacy”. To those individuals I would suggest that none of us know when, how or where we may pass. Preparation for the financial and emotional well-being of our survivors should not be limited to our “later years in life”; rather, we should continue to maintain an ongoing library of messages that reference specific dates, memories and important milestones that can provide our survivors with comfort, advice and a unique, personal and authentic dialogue which can be realized as a Latertalk subscriber.

We would invite you to visit to open a free account and begin your survivor messaging account. As you will see, once your designated survivors confirm their relationship to you, they can suggest the types of messages they would appreciate as your survivor. By creating and storing those messages (either FREE messaging in text format or a Premium account for a small monthly charge) you can leave your family and friends a legacy which cannot be replicated or purchased with any amount of money because your words, photos, video and voice/audio are priceless.

Is Your Digital Life Ready for Your Death?

Digital Death Guide – What Happens Online After You Die?

Each of us represent an average person on this globe. Most of us have Facebook account where we will share hundreds of contents including photos, videos and emotions yearly. Some of us will probably have Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest and other social channels as well.

More than 70% of the online population are using social networks and this number is growing faster everyday. The one thing that the 1.1 billion people currently on social networks have in common is that they are all going to die one day.

Life Insurance Finder published a really interesting infographic which offers us some preparation ideas for the inevitable:

– Gmail can send your next of kin all your emails and contacts on request. And so can Hotmail.

– Twitter can give your next of kin a copy of all your public tweets.

– Do you have any digital dirty laundry you should be worried about? All your data stored in the cloud belongs to the individual platform provider and they might use it unless you disallow them to.

– Will you want to one day to resurrect your digital self or perhaps even create a living clone or hologram of you that could interact with future generations? Personality predictors already exist such as ‘that can be my next tweet’ and ‘Hunch’ that can make certain predictions based on your social media data.

– With Life Naut you can build a mind file of almost your entire life experience. .

Where do you see your digital self in 100 years?

If you are really paranoid, here’s the comprehensive version of the digital death planning guide for reference.

Who will get your iTunes when you die?

Control of a digital property – AA case

We often forget that digital property is part of our daily lifes, especially when the conditions create distance between us and the physical world. This is the case with Alison Atkins. She died at 16, of a long struggle with disease, and got more and more connected to the online due to her situation.

Because her sister could not gain access to her computer at first, then to the online services which hosted her writings, poems and pictures, the accounts have been closed one after another, like parts of her online existence getting erased.

The reason behind this is that the law, privacy law, makes it great for living users to control their information, but nothing is prepared for the death of the very same users. To make things even more complicated, these laws completly differ from one country to another. In the case of Alison, they found out a some writings that were made to stay hidden, and service providers are in their right not to disclose the communications.

A google representative mentionned that “It’s crucial to strike a balance” between families and the user’s right to privac