Securing Your Digital Life


MY FATHER-IN-LAW, PETER,, died suddenly in November. It was a shocking and emotional time for all the family, however, he left his affairs in good, well-documented order. The necessary administration following his death has been uncomplicated, from accessing his phone, iPad and computer to dealing with things like banking, household bills and so on.

It’s made me reflect on my digital life, however, and I thought I would share some information which you might find useful:

Twenty-first Century living sees us create a digital life that is social, financial and personal. It ranges from stuff like Facebook and LinkedIn through to Paypal and online banking.

I am on Facebook and have friends spread across the world but if something happens to me how will they know? Well, with Facebook you can add a ‘legacy contact’ to your account, someone who can gain control of your account and memorialise or delete it in the event of your death: it’s very straightforward,

Google has a sympathetically named ‘Inactive Account Manager’ tool by which you can set up what should happen to all your Google accounts in the event of your demise. Again, it’s not complicated.

However, tracking down bank and building society accounts or PayPal can be a painful process. I have several PayPal accounts for business and personal use, but there’s no way they could they be dealt with after I’m gone if no one knows about them because I didn’t keep a record of their existence.

I recommend that you consider how to secure your digital life and pass the keys onto someone you trust. You can put together and store a document yourself with the basic information that can be accessed following your death. Alternatively, look at something like <> where you can arrange for an email to be sent to your spouse, your best friend or the executors of your will that tells them, for example, that your computer password is written on the garage wall behind the Saab Poster and everything else they will need is in the folder titled ‘I’m Out of Here’ on the D Drive of your computer.

How does it know to send the final email? Well, the site periodically checks in with you via email and requires a response from you to let them know you are still alive and well.

Whatever your method, do consider your digital legacy. I have no intention of going anywhere but I am making sure tidying up my digital life won’t cause my loved ones a problem.



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