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Why do we need a digital will?

4 years ago

1 expert and 1 parent have answered

Tamsin Oxford writer
Tamsin Oxford Professional writer and editor Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, UK

Your digital will is a document that will be given to your surviving family members when you die. It outlines the passwords that your children need to delete and deactivate your presence on social media, online banking and all other password related fronts.

It may seem odd, worrying about cancelling social networks when you die, but imagine the hurt it will cause your family and friends when you pop up in a reminder or notification, almost as if you were still alive.

Anita Layton was surfing her LinkedIn profile when her mother’s name appeared. Unfortunately her mother had died unexpectedly and the experience shook her to the core. ‘I was gutted,’ she said, ‘I felt such grief and such rage that they didn’t take her off the network, even though it was impossible for the site to have known.’

I’ve heard story after similar story and now I think it is essential to put your passwords into an accessible place so people can remove your ghost from the machine.

Allison Hunt, mum to Lliam said, ‘I have a file with all the important docs in one place. It gets updated as I open new accounts and every time I change passwords. I have made sure Lliam knows where it is. Macabre, but necessary.’

Increased security and one-time access password managers make hacking your accounts impossible, not something you want to bequeath to your kids when they are grieving and getting reminders to get in touch on Facebook or pay overdue bills.

Cory Doctorow decided to split his in two – half to his wife and half to his lawyer.

I am about to copy Cory Doctorow as I appreciate the elegant paranoia of his solution. What will your approach be?

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Matt Groves expert
Matt Groves Technology Guru ZA
Technology expert

With so much information online nowadays, this is quickly becoming something that could be required. As Tamsin mentioned, banking, social media, email, data storage in the cloud - much of this becomes irrelevant after death but more commonly I feel that a lot of this information will be needed by surviving partners, spouses or family, in order to successfully wind up estates and ensure that information is gleaned that might otherwise be unavailable.

My question in this regard would be: How secure wil the information that we store in a digital will be - as this would likely have to be online banking details, email accounts, social media accounts, it will quickly become a target for hackers wanting to get at information that is extremely valuable.

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Opinion 4 years ago

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