Your Dig­i­tal Life: Will it live on af­ter you’re gone?

South Florida Times - - OBITUARIES - Cour­tesy of fu­ner­al­wise.com HADLEY DAVIS FU­NERAL HOME – Mi­ami Gar­dens A. J. MANUEL FU­NERAL HOME - South

Cre­at­ing a will or es­tate plan has al­ways been about who will in­herit your tan­gi­ble as­sets — money, real es­tate, cars, per­sonal pos­ses­sions, etc. Now there is a new form of per­sonal as­sets, your dig­i­tal as­sets. When you die, they be­come your dig­i­tal legacy. De­ter­min­ing who will get con­trol of your dig­i­tal legacy is not a sim­ple mat­ter.

Many of us now rely heav­ily on tech­nol­ogy to main­tain our day-to-day af­fairs. Face­book, Pinterest, Ebay, Pay­Pal, Etsy, on­line bank­ing and email – these ser­vices are all part of our dig­i­tal lives.

Even the most ca­sual com­puter user has a sur­pris­ing amount of elec­tronic in­for­ma­tion stored on their com­puter and on the web. Upon our death, this in­for­ma­tion re­mains in place and be­comes our dig­i­tal legacy.

The trou­ble is, pri­vacy laws and re­stric­tions on terms of ser­vices for many of the most pop­u­lar on­line ser­vices such as Google and Ama­zon pre­vent our loved ones from ac­cess­ing our in­for­ma­tion once we are gone. In fact, we don’t even own our own on­line in­for­ma­tion we store on ser­vices such as Face­book.

For­tu­nately, the world of man­ag­ing dig­i­tal es­tates is chang­ing. Some states have al­ready passed leg­is­la­tion ad­dress­ing what hap­pens to dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion, but these laws are evolv­ing mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to ade- quately pro­vide for your dig­i­tal as­sets in your will.

On­line providers are in­tro­duc­ing ser­vices such as Google In­ac­tive Ac­count Man­ager and Face­book’s De­ac­ti­vat­ing, Delet­ing and Memo­ri­al­iz­ing Ac­counts to help you man­age elec­tronic as­sets.

Face­book now al­lows you to des­ig­nate a legacy con­tact to man­age your page upon your pass­ing. You may give your legacy con­tact per­mis­sion to down­load an ar­chive of your pho­tos and other pro­file in­for­ma­tion. You also have the op­tion to have your page per­ma­nently deleted or placed in “memo­ri­al­ized” sta­tus. Legacy con­tacts do not have ac­cess to pri­vate mes­sages or other in­for­ma­tion that is avail­able only when you log in.

Also, there are a num­ber of fee-based on­line ser­vices that can help you man­age your on­line in­for­ma­tion and des­ig­nate how it should be han­dled when you are gone. While the prod­ucts avail­able to help us man­age what hap­pens to our on­line in­for­ma­tion will con­tinue to im­prove, the best way to en­sure that your ac­counts and in­for­ma­tion are ac­cord­ing to your wishes is to cre­ate and leave be­hind a Dig­i­tal Legacy Plan.

We have cre­ated a handy Dig­i­tal Legacy Guide and a Dig­i­tal Legacy Check­list/Record Book to help you man­age your dig­i­tal as­sets. Click the but­ton be­low to get these com­ple­men­tary ma­te­ri­als. STEPS TO CRE­AT­ING A DIG­I­TAL

LEGACY PLAN 1. Make a list The first step in cre­at­ing a good dig­i­tal legacy plan is to cre­ate an in­ven­tory of your as­sets and how to ac­cess them. Be sure to in­clude all your im­por­tant on­line ac­counts. Many peo­ple find it help­ful to pri­or­i­tize your lists by im­por­tance. Among the list of ac­counts you should in­clude are: o Bank­ing and other fi­nan­cial sites o Email ac­counts o So­cial me­dia sites such as Face­book,Twit­ter, In­sta­gram

o Photo shar­ing sites such as Shut­ter­fly and Pi­casa o On­line back up sys­tems o File shar­ing ser­vices such as Drop­box o Fi­nan­cial sites such as Pay­Pal and on­line bank­ing ac­counts

o Shop­ping sites such as Ebay and Ama­zon

o Me­dia sites such as Net­flix,YouTube, and Hulu o Fre­quent flier and travel sites o Any other on­line sites to which you be­long

2. Doc­u­ment how you want your on­line ac­counts han­dled

An ex­am­ple of the type of de­ci­sion you might in­clude in your list of in­struc­tions is whether you would like to have your Face­book ac­count de­ac­ti­vated or kept as a me­mo­rial to your life? For photo ac­counts

De­cid­ing who will take care of your on­line af­fairs is an im­por­tant part of your plan. Your dig­i­tal ex­ecu­tor should be some­one you can trust. You should con­sider the ma­tu­rity of the per­son you choose as well as their abil­ity to han­dle sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion. Tech­ni­cal savvy is cer­tainly an added plus.

4. Find a safe place for your in­for ma­tion

Once your list is com­plete find a se­cure lo­ca­tion to store your list. A good place would be a safety de­posit box or safe. (For se­cu­rity pur­poses, con­sider stor­ing your list of as­sets and your list of pass­words in sep­a­rate lo­ca­tions.) Make sure your fam­ily or ex­ecu­tor knows how to find your in­for­ma­tion. 5. Keep your list up-to-date Since on­line ac­counts and pass­words may fre­quently change, it is tempt­ing to cre­ate a list and for­get about it. It is im­por­tant to visit your in­ven­tory and in­struc­tions from time to time in or­der to make sure the in­for­ma­tion is up to date when it is needed. Set­ting a yearly or biyearly re­view can be a good way to mon­i­tor your ac­counts. Check out our prac­ti­cal tips for Man­ag­ing Your Pass­words at www.fu­ner­al­wise.com/lear n/dig­i­tal­le­gacy/how-to-man­age-pass­words/. YOUR DIG­I­TAL LEGACY: LE­GAL CON­SID­ER­A­TIONS De­spite the fact that many of us main­tain a great deal of our in­for­ma­tion in elec­tronic form, both the states and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment have been slow to adopt reg­u­la­tions to guide us in plan­ning for our dig­i­tal legacy. Most le­gal ex­perts be­lieve that it will be sev­eral years be­fore na­tional ac­tion is un­der­taken and only five states have passed leg­is­la­tion grant­ing ex­ecu­tors pow­ers over dig­i­tal as­sets. Laws passed in Con­necti­cut and Rhode Is­land only cover email while leg­is­la­tion in In­di­ana, Idaho and Ok­la­homa in­cludes so­cial net­work­ing and blog­ging ac­counts. All of these laws are lim­ited in scope and have not yet been tested in the courts.

Here are a cou­ple sites pro­vid­ing more in­for­ma­tion on the le­gal­i­ties of your dig­i­tal as­sets: www.thedig­i­tal-beyond.com/top­ics/le­gal/ www.dig­i­tal­pass­ing.com/2013/02/13/list­state-laws-pro­pos­als-fidu­ciary-ac­cess-dig­i­tal-prop­erty-in­ca­pac­ity-death/

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