In today’s world, the use of technology has become common in almost every area of our lives, and whether or not you consider yourself to be technologically savvy, you likely have some form of presence that exists within the digital world. This could be as simple as having an online bank account or be much more complex including social media accounts, data storage, multiple email accounts, and the list goes on.
Because of this, each of us leaves a digital estate of some kind when we pass, and it can be complicated for family and friends to take care of the loose ends. So what can you do to ensure that your digital legacy is taken care of after you’re gone? Here’s what we suggest.
The first thing you should do is make sure that you are organized. You might be holding your username and password in your memory, but it’s important to be proactive in creating a clear list of what accounts you have, as well as the usernames and passwords you need to access them. Having this information in one place is important so that it’s streamlined for anyone who takes care of your accounts after your death. A word of caution here: do make sure this document is kept safe and secure so that it is kept for intended eyes only.
Naming A Digital Executor
Just like in a typical will or estate, having a designated person to carry out your digital wishes upon your passing is going to be a significant step. In a digital sense, this person will have access to all of your accounts and passwords and will be in charge of shutting them down or managing them in the future. Make sure to choose someone you trust, and it’s always a good idea to have a conversation with them ahead of time, just to let them know what to expect.
If you were active on social media like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, these pages will naturally live on after your death, but what you may not know is that you can name someone to manage these accounts after you pass. For example, on Facebook, you can add a beneficiary to your account. That person will need to accept the role once you add them in order to memorialize your Facebook page in the future. The benefit to this is that friends and family can still come and leave memories and share stories about you. This is a great way for friends and family to find healing and community after you are gone. There are some safeguards, and the beneficiary won’t have access to your private messages, but they will be able to accept new friend requests and create posts on your behalf.
Banking and Financial Information
Your online financial profile is one of the more significant parts of the digital will. While the digital age makes it easy to spread out our financial resources, it can turn into quite a headache for loved ones who are trying to find and manage online financial accounts. So the best thing to do is keep a record of all of the places that you have money. These could include…
- Banks (savings and checking accounts)
- Investment Accounts
- Employee Retirement Accounts
- Savings Bonds
- Life Insurance Policies, etc.
You will also want to include the financial institutions’ information for all of the above accounts. Be sure to note the:
- Business names
- Phone numbers
- Your username and passwords
- Account or routing numbers (if applicable)
By providing this information, your executor will have a much easier time accessing the needed information in each account. The executor of your digital will does not have access to spend or use the money unless explicitly stated within your legal will.
Have you digitized all your family home videos?
Do you have a massive collection of family photos taking up gigabytes of storage on your computer?
Were you an avid baker who kept a digital copy of your recipes and creations?
These keepsakes will undoubtedly be invaluable to your family and friends in the future. Letting the executor of your digital afterlife know where this media can be found is an important way for them to help share your memory for years to come.
The Internet is a beautiful thing. It allows us to decrease clutter and have everything we need located in one place. It also streamlines our ability to access information, keepsakes, and money quickly. But ensuring that someone other than yourself has access to all of the places you find yourself on the internet can alleviate pain and stress from your family and friends who would otherwise have to do the digging themselves.
Remember the team at Ryan Funeral Homes is here for you. If you’d like to talk more about your digital afterlife, don’t hesitate to contact us.