Your digital life includes everything from iTunes and photos to frequent-flyer miles. You may not own cryptocurrency or nonfungible tokens . You may not have a big Instagram following or run an online business. But if you do almost anything online, you probably have digital assets — electronic records […]
Have you appointed some online executors to sort your digital legacy?
However young you are, you may need to think about an executor for your affairs and one or more online executors for your online business.
You may have made a will. You may have read recently that a court overturned a will that had cut a woman out of any inheritance from her family. She got the money and the deceased’s wishes were ignored.
But what about all your digital possessions? What will happen to them? You may not care, of course, but those you leave behind certainly will.
Well, Facebook has come up with the ability for users to nominate an ‘online executor’ in your settings following advice last year from the Law Society that people should leave clear instructions about what should happen to digital assets after death.
One Final Post
These online executors will be able to post one last message for all the departed’s followers, update profile pictures and, apparently, will even be able to approve new friend requests.
Facebook are styling these online executors as ‘legacy contacts’ and they will be welcomed. What happens now is that when a user dies his or her account is either deleted or frozen, which has the effect of turning it into a memorial.
The option to order the deletion of your pages will still be there, but as we know, once online it’s there forever, so your routes will be sustained as long as digital survives.
There, does that feel comforting at all?
No, I thought not!
MORRISTOWN, N.J. – Former Morristown residents Kirsten Hotchkiss and her father, Steve Hotchkiss, recently launched an online business venture called My Life’s Message, LLC, to help individuals and families with legacy planning and other end-of-life preparations.
The company is a website (www.mylifesmessage.com) that enables individuals to record how they want their lives to be celebrated, and to share their legacy with their families. In addition, the site enables families to easily contact the friends and colleagues of the user to communicate the news of his or her death.
“This idea came about because news of death in this day and age is hard to get if you are not part of the immediate community,” said Kirsten. “A few years back, my dad mentioned that his friends were starting to pass away, and he regretted that he didn’t hear about it until well after the service had been held. When we researched how the news is distributed, we realized that Facebook postings only reach friends of the survivors and obituaries are only published locally, so it’s really hard to track down that information. Even though the information is ubiquitous, if it’s not directed to you, you don’t know to go look for it.”
With My Life’s Message, however, the client logs the names and email addresses of the people in one’s life, and, when the time comes, their survivors can send a single notice to everyone who would have wanted to know.
“My Life’s Message also addresses the emotional side of estate planning,” Steve explained. “We prompt the users to record information related to dozens of topics, ranging from how they want their life to be celebrated to the pre-planning and preparations they may have done, as well as what final wishes they have, what directions they want to leave behind, and, most importantly, what favorite memories they want to pass along to their descendants.”
Finally, the website has a Records Roadmap that provides a way for clients to guide their families to their important information, including their digital estate, without having to input confidential financial information or passwords.
“We wanted people to feel secure using this website, and knowing that they were helping their families at the same time,” Kirsten adds. “Talking about death is not easy, but we think that My Life’s Message is an easy way to start the conversation, and a wonderful gift to give to one’s family. We hope that people will find it valuable.”
Morristown Natives Launch My Life’s Message to Help Families with Legacy Planning
Digital assets can be organized into several categories:
- Computers and devices: content from desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones
- Email: content from incoming, sent, and stored messages
- Content from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and others
- Online businesses including online stores, blogs, and websites, including PayPal, eBay and Etsy
- Multimedia content or other digital mementos from Shutterfly, Snapfish, Flickr, Instagram, and other digital content sites
What Happens to Digital Assets After Your Death?
As the digital world around us becomes a greater part of our everyday lives, we are faced with how to protect assets and pass on accounts after death. And even if all the required passwords are left behind, many heirs will find they have no clear authority to access or manage the online accounts of the deceased, a legal headache for those grieving a loved one. Online user agreements can be confusing and sometimes contradictory, and state and federal laws can restrict Internet users’ ability to transfer their online accounts to loved ones after their death. In many cases, an experienced estate planning lawyer will be the key to drafting an appropriate and complete will to manage all your assets after death.
How-to Protect Your Digital Estate
Choose a Digital Executor
A digital executor will be the person or online service that you choose to manage your digital assets after you are gone. Although we will usually want a close relative to have this personal information, it is important that the digital executor can understand and manage the technical aspects associated with digital assets of all kinds.
Choose Your Heirs
You may choose one or more heirs to whom you will leave your assets. Although user end agreements will dictate much of who can have access to your accounts, if you set up your will appropriately with an estate planning lawyer, you can decide who inherits your financial and sentimental digital assets.
Edit Your Data Collection
Although our digital world is relatively new, digital content can add up fast. Think about the data you have now, including hardware, software, files, online personal accounts, work information, personal information, and social media sites. Leaving behind a tremendous amount of data with no instruction on what to do with it can be overwhelming for a grieving loved one. Consider weeding through your digital assets once or twice a year and mark items that are special to you or leave behind instructions to help your loved ones along.
State Your Final Digital Asset Wishes in Your Will
Leaving instructions or suggestions behind for those dealing with your digital assets can be invaluable. Consider leaving instructions for notifications on social media sites, continuing or closing sites, important “Do Not Delete” items, and information you wish to be left behind or archived.
Give Appropriate Authority
Whiles some digital assets provide for an easy process of passing authority, some end user agreements are complicated. Finding estate planning lawyers who are experienced and knowledgeable in “digital estates” will be essential in certain cases.
The most important aspect of any portion of Estate Planning is to discuss your plans with your loved ones, and then carry out the plan with the guidance of your estate planning attorney. Contact the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher B Johnson today.
The Law Society has just lately urged individuals to arrange a digital legacy with their will as a part of their property planning. A digital legacy covers all of these intangible and invisible property which we personal and couldn’t reside with out. The Law Society is aware that digital belongings are simply as vital by way of their worth and significance as our bodily belongings.
So what are digital belongings? They embrace belongings which can be accessed or held on-line so for instance, knowledge within the following accounts –
- Online Banking
- Computer Games
- Personal Blogs
- Social Media equivalent to Facebook, Twitter and so on
- Professional Directories
- Online Shopping
These exist in each our private and enterprise lives. In some circumstances the place total companies function on-line there will be few bodily belongings. If you might be an internet enterprise proprietor have you learnt who would entry incoming orders, on-line financial institution accounts and many others with no preparations in place?
As a part of an property planning train it is best to assume that relations will not know the place to look on-line for your private digital property. On this foundation it’s simpler to draft directions making your digital life completely clear.A digital legacy will present executors with a street map to find and take care of your on-line affairs. By means of instance, full directions would permit your family members to recuperate sentimental and necessary materials like images held digitally.
It will be far simpler for your executors to deactivate and shut sure accounts for instance, Twitter if in case you have left clear directions.
You can start your preparations for a digital legacy by precisely logging all of the on a regular basis accounts which you utilize on-line. There isn’t any have to checklist passwords or PINs as there might be apparent safety points. As properly as making a listing of digital property we’d strongly suggest that that is often reviewed and up to date in order that it’s stored present. Something so simple as a written record stored with your papers may help households when searching for digital belongings.
With expertise and the way in which we retailer data always evolving it’s extra vital than ever that we think about now what occurs to our digital belongings and digital presence as soon as we’re gone.
We can focus on with you one of the simplest ways to attract up a digital legacy in response to your circumstances and desires. We even have an Intellectual Property crew who can assist with extra advanced digital legacies.