There’s no denying that the internet is here to stay. Twenty-five years ago, the internet was just a baby, but now, it’s a huge part of people’s lives. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center , approximately 81% of Americans go online daily. That’s huge! We now do […]
Pass Down Digital Assets, Including Cryptocurrency and Family Memories, Through Your Estate Plan What happens to your digital assets at death? Who can access your online data when you are incapacitated? Digital estate planning allows you to protect your online accounts, digital currencies, photos and other properties stored digitally. […]
Millennials, It is Time to Educate and Protect Your Digital Relatives
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Technology for all
“How do I send a Facebook message?”
“Can you help me with the computer?”
“I can’t get into my phone!”
Sound familiar? For many millennials, older relatives have spent a large percentage of their lives helping, teaching and supporting you. Now it’s time for millennials to teach and support your now digital relatives.
How many of your parents, grandparents and other relatives are now online and using technology? According to Pew Research Center, 73% of American adults ages 65 or older are internet users. That is up 14% from the year 2000, just a decade ago. To younger generations, the value of technology and the internet made them early adopters to integrating various technologies into their daily lives; it is clear that older Americans are now on board as well.
Millennials must help your older relatives understand the dark side of technology
With all things in life, there are pros and cons. Technology is no different. Growing up with technology, Millennials have an easier time understanding the negative sides. Identity theft, fraud and stolen financial information are just some examples of what can easily happen if the proper steps and precautions are not taken. Older generations need help understanding how they can easily fall victim to cyber crime, even after death. Have you ever found yourself saying one of the following to an older relative?
- Do not click links in emails from people you do not know
- Even more confusing, do not click links in emails from familiar sources that seem “off”; go to the websites directly
- You must use a passcode for your phone
- Do not use the same password for all your online accounts
What is the value of your digital information, assets and footprint?
In a survey conducted by McAfee, they found that 88% of consumers own multiple digital devices, with 62% owning three or more and 20% owning five or more.
More than half of consumers surveyed (51%) spend 15 hours or more on their digital devices. The study concluded that the global average worth of assets stored on our devices is over $35,000. The study was further expanded by Andrew Hill Investment Advisors, who state for Americans, the average financial worth of digital assets is over $55,000 per person.
These studies are interesting and encourage you to value your digital assets along with your physical property. While it is easy to define the value of your laptop, phone and other devices, the harder piece of this equation is how do you place a value on your irreplaceable items (such as photos or documents), or financial information that could be stolen?
Help your relatives protect and plan for their digital estate
Take a moment and think about all the financial, personal, sensitive or private information that your relatives may have on their devices:
- Credit cards
- Tax documents
- Social Security numbers (for all family members, likely including yours)
- Medical records (for all family members, likely including yours)
- Banking information
- Retirement information
- Investment information
- Private conversations
- Private and personal data
- Private location data
According to AARP, it can take six months for financial institutions, credit-reporting bureaus and the Social Security Administration to receive, share or register death records. Widely available funeral announcements create the perfect scenario for criminals to strike, and it makes grieving loved ones a prime target for identity theft and other types of financial and digital theft. It has become imperative that your older relatives start to plan properly for their digital death.
Did you know that according to AARP, close to 800,000 deceased individuals are targeted for identity theft annually? That’s almost 2,200 a day. With a name, address and birth date, criminals can purchase a Social Security number for as little as $10. Stealing the identity of the deceased is called ghosting, and you can learn more about it here.
Digital estate planning is about you, too
Digital estate planning is more than just protection from criminals targeting your deceased loved ones; it is also about organization. When a loved one passes, it is a difficult and emotional time for family members. The last thing you want to worry about is where to find important information such as a will, or safeguard family memories such as photos. When you take time to plan in advance using a central storage location such as an Info Vault, your relatives will enjoy peace of mind knowing that all their important information, documents, passwords, photos and other digital items are safe.
You will also benefit from your relatives planning for their digital estate. While grieving and dealing with their post-life matters, you will not have to scramble around looking for their password and other important information, during what is one of life’s most emotional and stressful times.
Talk to your relatives
The time is now to talk to your parents and other relatives about planning and protecting their digital lives. You never know when your time will be up, so take action today. Talk to your relatives about how easy and wide-spread end-of-life related crimes can be. In the same conversation, explain how they can organize both their traditional and digital estates at the same time using digital estate planning services. Taking proactive measures now will provide both you and your relatives with the peace-of-mind knowing that their important items will be safely transferred in an organized manner, making one the hardest times in life a little easier.
How Final Security can help
Final Security can help protect your relatives by providing them with the tools they need to properly plan their estate and control their digital information and assets upon death.
Final Security’s Info Vault is a place where loved ones can store their digital information:
- Store usernames and passwords to any service (files and notes can be saved with each entry).
- Store their photos: save a single, memorable photo or a collection to pass on.
- Store your documents, such as a will, or a collection of information their beneficiaries will need.
- Create an efficient, organized and central place for their beneficiary to find all their important information after their passing.
With Final Security’s Device Cleaning service, they can have that peace of mind that their registered devices will be remotely wiped upon the confirmation of their passing. Our service will ensure that their sensitive and private information will not be seen by anyone but their designated beneficiary. We will protect not only their legacy but provide protection to their family and friends by making sure their private information does not get into the wrong hands.
Social Media Cleaning
Social Clean is Final Security’s service that allows you to know that your online accounts do not live on the web forever. Not only does this service protect their legacy and information, it also protects family and friends. Bad actors are looking to capitalize on the window of time where your death may not be publicly known or officially recognized. In this window of time, your family and friends could fall victim to a scam that looks like it is coming from your account.
Americans 60 and older are spending more time in front of their screens than a decade ago. (2019). Pew Research Center. From: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/06/18/americans-60-and-older-are-spending-more-time-in-front-of-their-screens-than-a-decade-ago
Are Your Digital Assets Protected? -. (2019). Responsibleadvisors.com. From: https://responsibleadvisors.com/are-your-digital-assets-protected/
How Do Your Digital Assets Compare? | McAfee Blogs. (2013). McAfee Blogs. From: https://www.mcafee.com/blogs/consumer/family-safety/digital-assets/
Final Security LLC launches first-of-its-kind digital estate planning service
Click here to view original web page at Final Security LLC launches first-of-its-kind digital estate planning service
“It can take 6 months for someone to be officially recognized as deceased by the Social Security Administration…this makes grieving loved ones a prime target for identity theft,” explained Christopher W. Huziak, CEO & Founder of Final Security LLC.
Today Final Security, LLC launched an unprecedented service to protect users against identity theft and ease the burden of managing digital assets upon death. The personal data protection company helps users through the process of estate planning for their digital life. Final Security’s state-of-the-art artificial intelligence process determines a user’s living status and, upon death, transfers the user’s files to a designated beneficiary or cleans their devices and accounts.
The service includes:
Info Vault: Users can collect files, photos and account information in the encrypted Info Vault to be transferred to their designated beneficiary.
Device Cleaning: Registered devices will be wiped clean, ensuring the user passes on only the information they want to share.
Social Media Cleaning: Users can arrange to have their social media accounts deleted, securing their digital legacy.
Final Security’s service also protects users and their loved ones from identity theft during a time of grief. According to AARP, criminals collected a staggering $5.2 Billion from the IRS in 2011 by falsely filing tax returns of the deceased. Transferring critical account information and erasing devices limits the risk of identity theft.
“Criminals have an unfair advantage — it can take 6 months for someone to be officially recognized as deceased by financial institutions, credit bureaus and the Social Security Administration,” explained Christopher W. Huziak, CEO & Founder of Final Security LLC. “This is the perfect scenario for criminals to strike and makes grieving loved ones a prime target for identity theft and other types of financial and digital theft. It has become imperative that you plan properly for your digital death. Final Security’s services provide all the tools you need to protect yourself and those you love.”
Final Security’s protection plans start at $12.99/month. To learn more about and register with Final Security, visit: finalsecurity.co
About Final Security LLC
Final Security is a personal data protection company that specializes in cleaning and transferring your digital information upon death. Services include device erasing, social media account deletion, and an information vault which allows your digital life to be given to a chosen delegate.
Five Ways to Handle Digital Estate Planning
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So much of our lives is online these days, but surprisingly few of us plan for what happens to our online accounts and assets when we are no longer around. Some of your Instagram followers may never notice that you’ve stopped posting vacation pictures, or stop to wonder why. But you have other online presences that can, and should be managed after your death, so that your loved ones can access assets and memories you’ve stored online. Here are five ways to manage your digital estate planning
Consider a Password Manager
Someone inheriting your house or car would need to inherit the keys as well. Someone inheriting access to your digital life will need your passwords. A password manager can make those digital “keys” easier to pass along. Services like 1Password allow you to store all your passwords for various sites with them so you don’t have to remember them. When you sign up for the service, you create an “emergency kit.”
The kit has, all in one place, the information that a person you choose would need to access your 1Password account. You may also store passwords for credit card sites, banking, and other information needed to access your financial accounts. Download a copy of your emergency kit to a USB drive or print out a copy and keep it in a secure place, perhaps in a safe with your estate planning documents, so that your personal representative can get to it soon after your death.
Give Google a Heads Up
Google has a feature called “Inactive Account Manager.” If your account is inactive for a set period of time, the IAM hands over the reins to your account to a person you have designated.
The default period of inactivity is three months, but you can opt for a shorter or longer time before Google turns over control of your account. You will need to supply your phone number, if you haven’t already done so, as well as provide another contact email. If your account is inactive, Google will first try to reach you using these means before handing off your account to your designated person.
When you designate someone to manage your inactive Google account, you can select which Google services (like YouTube) you want them to be able to access, or grant blanket access to everything. You can also set up your account to send an autoreply to anyone who emails you after your account is declared inactive. Head to Google’s Inactive Account Manager page to begin.
Leave a Legacy on Facebook
If you’re like many people, you have either reconnected with long-lost neighbors, friends and family on Facebook, or you never lost touch with them in the first place because Facebook has always been a part of your life. Think about how much of your contact with other people, especially those far away, is on Facebook. You share everything from pictures of lunch at that new Ethiopian restaurant to news about the birth of a child or grandchild. Facebook is your journal, photo album, and coffee klatsch all in one.
Facebook also does things like suggest you as a friend to people you may know, and remind Facebook friends of your birthday. These things can be painful for your loved ones when you’re no longer alive to celebrate. This and other problems can be solved by designating a legacy contact.
Your designated legacy contact, who must be an existing Facebook friend, can memorialize your account after your death, leaving a slimmed-down profile online.
Your designated legacy contact, who must be an existing Facebook friend, can memorialize your account after your death, leaving a slimmed-down profile online. When an account is memorialized, the word “Remembering” will be shown on your profile next to your name. Your account will also be removed from public search accounts, you won’t be suggested as a friend, and reminders will not go out on your birthday. However, if privacy settings allow, friends can still post messages on your timeline, so your loved ones will know you are fondly remembered.
If you prefer, you can have your account deactivated after your death by selecting “request account deletion” under the “manage account” tab.
Help Your Loved Ones Do the Two-Step
If you have designated loved ones to manage your online accounts after your death, congratulations. You have made their lives a little easier by relieving the stress of having to figure out access to your digital life. Grief is hard enough without that frustration.
If you are wise enough to have done this, however, you were also probably savvy enough to set up two-factor authentication for many of your important accounts. If that’s the case, you will want to give the person managing your online life after your death access to your phone or other means of contact so they can get the needed code for the two-factor authentication. Otherwise, they are sure to be frustrated.
As a Back-Up, Back it Up
The steps above will take care of much of the management of your digital life, but it’s always advisable to save important work, photos, and files to an external hard drive that loved ones can have right at their fingertips.
We hope you won’t need these tips for many years (by which time we may well have new ones). But you will sleep a little better at night knowing you have done your digital estate planning as well as estate planning in real life.
If you have more questions about digital estate planning, we invite you to contact our law firm.
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