In the past, dividing someone’s assets after their death was pretty simple in most cases, especially if they left a will. However, these assets were almost entirely physical. We live in a digital world, where the majority of information is stored online. Have you ever considered what will happen to your digital data after you pass away?
Nowadays, there are different services that allow digital asset management and protection. After passing away, your data can be managed, shared, or deleted, according to your wishes. There is an option of ensuring the data is legally protected and controlling who will have access to your digital assets upon your death.
When it comes to your computer(s), there is different software that will either wipe out the hard drive, or encrypt it with one or multiple passwords if you haven’t logged in for a specified period. All these tools are certainly very valuable, but no one can guarantee they will be around in 50 or more years, when you actually might need their services.
If no one ensures any type of action for their online accounts after their death, search and the web will eventually become cluttered with dead, unmaintained websites, which could lead to many potential problems.
Some online services have policies that deal with digital data after your death. Facebook will “memorialise” the account if death is reported. This will prevent anyone from ever logging in to the account but allow friends to continue writing and commenting on your page. Twitter will provide a copy of all of your public tweets and then close the account.
LinkedIn, Yahoo and E-bay will close the account if proof of death is provided. PayPal will do the same and if there are are any funds remaining, it will issue a check to the name of the account holder. However, Gmail and Hotmail have different policies. They will grant full account details to heirs, but this requires plenty of documentation and can be a very lengthy process.
If you don’t want to deal with leaving your login credentials behind and wish to remove yourself from different social networks, there is a solution. Suicide Machine allows you to submit your information and watch it remove all of your friends/connections/followers as well as information from your profiles until everything is completely gone.
What will you do with your digital data?