Death isn’t a topic we like to discuss but would you or your loved ones know what to do if you or a loved one suddenly passed away.
We’re not here to discuss the usual topics like organising end of life events like funerals or wills but what happens to your digital assets. Would your loved ones know what digital assets you have, know how to access them and what your wishes were for them after you pass?
Set aside some time to create a Digital Asset document. In this document you should list
- computer hardware & software (including, but not limited to, desktop/laptops, printers, scanners, external hard drives, USB drives, CD/DVD backups of information, software on USB/CD/DVD)
- Tablets, mobile phones, portable music players, ebook readers
- Digital cameras
- Online accounts (emails, social media, online storage, Microsoft account, Apple account, online banking, gaming accounts, blogs etc)
- Mobile phone and Internet plans – account name, account number and any password related to the account.
- Domain names if you have a website
Next think about what you’d like done with these assets? Do you want all your accounts closed? Hardware wiped? Pictures and documents saved to an external hard drive? Assets passed on to someone else or sold? If you have any rewards, can they be redeemed after passing?
Another thing to think about is naming a Digital Executor in your will.This person will know the wishes for your digital assets and where to access the document containing all your important digital information like logins. They will also be able to inform the executor of your will, your wishes in relation to physical digital assets.
Now that you have created that document, what should you do with it?
Store copies of this document in secure locations.
- A sealed envelope given to your attorney to be given to your digital executor (named in your will) after your death.
- Secure online storage.
- In locked cabinet or safe.
Tell one or two people you trust (ideally one would be your Digital Executor) the location of this document and how to access it, ie the name of your attorney, the name of the online storage company (& any related login information) or the location of the cabinet/safe and location of the key. This way they will know, when the time comes, where your Digital Asset document is and how to access it
We’ve created a sample document for you to download and fill in, or use it to create your own file.
In part 2 we’ll look at what to do if a loved one passes suddenly.