What happens to your Facebook account after you die? Who takes hold of your Twitter handle and where does your LinkedIn resume go?
These are all questions we’ve thought about. Well, it has an answer and its name is the Digital Estate.
A digital estate, much like a conventional estate, represents your assets. The only difference is that a digital estate accounts for your online footprint.
Now, you’re probably wondering, “It’s not that big of a deal. It’s just my Facebook account. It’s not worth anything.” In some respects, you’d be right.
But take a second and think about how many of your most crucial decisions are made behind a computer screen. Think about your online banking and think about your online shopping. If your will fails to stipulate where your online footprint goes, your privacy and economic security can fall into the wrong hands.
Still, you might be thinking, “I’m dead. Who gives a shit?” As logical as that may sound, I know that anytime any of my family members passed away I wished I knew just a little more about them. Think of how many sentimental images you can create on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube and Vimeo from now till your 75 years old. There’s no fathomable end.
What if you have a blog? Say a friend copies everything down to preserve it after you’ve passed away. It’s an honorable gesture, but whatever website provides the blog may inherit that intellectual property once you’re gone. Now that friend is subject to prosecution.
I think this is an issue, especially for our generation, we need to start wrapping are heads around. Don’t just limit it to computers. We leave digital trails behind on things like our smart phones and flash drives too. There are ways to help people navigate through these assets after you’re gone. Sites like SecureSafe and Legacy Locker are worth looking into.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not leave my friends and family in total chaos over the rights to my digital assets. Especially if they’re in the midst of mourning (on the off chance someone wants to mourn my death).
My advice is to start making a list of your entire digital inventory and find a place to store it. The rest is just figuring out who gets what and who will carry out the orders.