Have you ever considered what may happen to your social media accounts or information stored on your document cloud, when you die?
Have you ever heard of eClosure or DeadSocial?
Some may say that death (and life) was much easier, once upon a time, when we all used to store important documents and information in our homes or in safety deposit boxes. They may be right. Either way, managing and understanding one’s rights and the risks in relation to digital information is now an essential life skill.
There are three main reasons why it is important to consider digital assets when planning for incapacity or death:
Property law is technical. Australian law tends to treat digital assets differently from other personal (or real) property assets, and this may cause unexpected or unusual outcomes.
There are no set rules. Digital assets are commonly stored on multiple devices and shared on multiple platforms, all of which have different terms and conditions and policies. Just about the only thing most have in common is to require you to contract out of or limit the application of Australian law.
Security works. Security controls are many and varied (fingerprint technology on digital devices, two-step authentication for account access etc). Without your help, your loved ones may well be left stranded.
When planning for incapacity or death, we recommend that you:
Identify and List. Set aside time to identify and prepare a detailed list of your digital assets, including: devices (desktop computer, portable devices and portable storage items such as external hard-drives); social media accounts; cloud storage accounts; product licences; domain names and so on.
Decide. Decide what you would like to happen to your digital assets. Should they be saved? archived? printed & stored? deleted? shared? Record your decision as part of your asset list.
Plan for Access. Securely record and store all of your access details (passwords, access codes, answers to secret questions and product licence
keys). Place a paper record in a sealed envelope marked “private and confidential – to be opened by my executors after my death” and store the envelope together with your original will. Tell your executors that the envelope exists.
Stay Current. Keep your lists and records current and up to date. Diarise regular (at least biannual) updates.
Get Legal. Have your will and enduring
power of attorney professionally prepared, by our experienced wills and estate planning team.