It’s a morbid subject, but one that begs to be considered in today’s Digital Age: do you have a plan for what happens to your digital files after death?
A will often dictates what happens to physical assets—furniture, money, property, precious family heirlooms, etc.—but what about our online lives?
These days we spend (at least) half of our lives online between work, social media, and using technology to store and access our precious photos and files. In the event of the inevitable, it helps to have a plan in place so your loved ones know precisely what to do with your estate—online and off.
What to do with digital files
For many ScanMyPhotos customers, their laptops, hard drives, and cloud storage systems contain thousands of print photos they’ve sent to us to scan. Oftentimes, these digital files can include generations of photos that date back to the turn of the 19th century. These simply cannot be lost in the recesses of the interwebs or on a dusty old laptop from 2010.
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To ensure these digital files are kept safe, you’ll want to do the following:
- Work with an estate executor and provide detailed information about the digital files in your possession. You’ll also want to list who should be able to access these files in the event of your passing.
- Keep a detailed document on where your digital files are located and how to access them—including usernames, passwords, and even answers to common security questions.
- Make copies of all your files on a flash drive, DVD, or hard drive and store the device(s) in a safety deposit box. This way, in the event the original files were corrupted, lost, or destroyed, there will be a backup.
How to handle social accounts
In addition to your digital files, you also need to consider your online presence. What will happen to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, etc., accounts? What do you want to happen with them?
Give this some consideration and, again, name a person who you’d like to handle those accounts in the event of your passing. Make sure this person has all the information they would need to manage those accounts.
For more information on how to manage your digital assets after death, check out these two articles:
- Is Your Digital Life Ready for Your Death? (The New York Times)
- The Challenges Of Preserving Your Digital Legacy (Forbes)
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