What Happens To Digital Assets When You Die? Part I

What Happens to Your Digital Assets When You Die? Part 1 

Increasingly in modern day administrations, people now use modern media such as email, online music, crypto currencies, and it is clear that this is likely to continue, as it is now part of our social structure. 

There follows a series of articles which relates to these items, and what happens to them when you die. 

Often the deceased finances are in order, but in our experience, commonly the social media side of their lives has not been thought through, as to what will happen after they pass. 

If you have a joint credit card, the credit card will insist that you close the credit card, and then depending upon the history of the card, they may allow you to have a new one in your sole name. However, the regular payments that may or may not be on the card will fail, as they will not be paid once you notify the credit card of the passing. 

Accounts such as Netflix accounts are usually linked to the deceased password protected email account, and you will find that you can spend hours on the phone, in the case of Netflix to Canada, to pay the outstanding credit card bill. 

It is important therefore, to ensure that the deceased, if they can, is organised and has collected, and recorded all the appropriate passwords in one place. 

We have encountered a situation where passwords have been protected and in one place, but there is a password to get into that folder, which has never been divulged, thus defeating the whole object of the exercise. 

Our experience underlines the difficulties that digital assets can cause, in those going through a bereavement, the variation in company rules gathering access after death, and the widespread confusion over the rights we have over our digital assets. 

As our use of online services grows, it is up to us as individuals to make adequate preparations for handing on their digital assets, if not, they may bequest their loved ones an unnecessary burden of stress and red tape, and in some cases force them to seek legal help to resolve the matter. 

Organising your Digital Legacy. 

The Digital Legacy Association offers a checklist of anybody wanting to organise their legacies. 

  1. If you have a security password on a mobile phone, or any other electrical device, think about how best to manage your passwords, so that an executor or a loved one can access them after your death.
  2. If you have a social media account such as Facebook, download your photos and videos from the service, and pass them to your next of kin. You may also want to provided administration access to your social media accounts to someone you trust.
  3. If you have online subscriptions or bank accounts, make suitable plans for each.
  4. If you have photos or videos stored on electrical devices, or on a company hosted server, you may want to make a folder of your favourite photos and share them with a friend or family member.

Sharing can be done via the internet service, or by using an external memory stick on a hard drive. 

If you need any assistance please contact us.