Published on November 28th, 2013 | by John I.0
Preparing your digital legacy for when you’re gone
Many fans of the internet probably don’t take into consideration what will happen to their online lives after they’ve passed away. The digital legacy that you leave behind may be of importance to family members and friends who, after your death, may wish to access your online accounts for various reasons. However, using the login details of a deceased family member is potentially illegal as most online services states in their terms and conditions (that nobody ever reads) that only the owner of the account may access it. Luckily for us, experts from SagaLegal.co.uk have come up with a new guide which advises people how to sort out their digital legacy.
The group advises people to compile an ‘online directory’ that lists all active internet accounts as well as requests for how each of them should be dealt with after that person has died. This may sound a little depressing and strange but because the majority of the public now have some degree of an online presence, it is worth considering what may happen to all of this after you have gone. Popular sites such as Facebook and Yahoo will not hand over data without a court order, although Facebook does give relatives of deceased account members the option of closing the account or turn it into a memorial page. Google has taken a more personal approach to the matter, allowing users to plan ahead of time what they want done with their account.
If you’ve ever thought about what would be the perfect message to leave behind for your loved ones after you’ve gone but remain worried that you’ll never have the chance to, fret no more! Experts claim that a final tweet/Facebook status would be the perfect way to say goodbye to your online presence. They claim it would prevent insensitive messages on social media sites such as birthday greetings from those who were perhaps unaware of the situation. A final tweet or status may also be used to inform companies that a subscriber has passed away. Emma Myers, head of Wills, probate and lifetime planning at Saga Legal said:
“In the same way you would not want your loved ones falling out or being inconvenienced over a missing will when you die, it’s also imperative to plan ahead for the great internet cafe in the sky.”
The idea of drafting a ‘digital Will’ is taking hold and will be a way in which people can leave information about how they want their digital footprints to be dealt with. It is not possible to put details of your online life in an actual will because they are publically accessible documents. However, many people don’t think to produce their own digital Will despite the fact that people are living more and more of their lives online these days. Emma Myers comments further on this matter saying that:
“With the internet still being somewhat of a legal grey area, we understand the importance of consumers being aware of the risks – emotional, practical and financial – of not properly setting your online affairs in order.”