SPONSORED CONTENT DECLARATION: This content is brought to you by Nirvana Memorial Garden, Courtesy of their Life Education Series Campaign. This article discusses what we should do and how we can start managing our digital assets.
On the surface, it seems pretty simple on how we should manage our digital assets:
- Keep an excel sheet with tabulation of all our account ID & Password
- Have your trusted family member safeguard it until the time comes
Having a Shared iCloud Storage access or a go-to folder for sentimental and personal items that matter to your family may be also a great way to guarantee access to them when you or your family needs them.
But there’s more to it than meets the eye. Here are 6 steps on how you can protect your digital assets after death, after all, our deaths do not mean the death of our online identity; all information regarding us still lives on in the online space.TDLR: Here’s a summary for those who are lazy to read further.
- Protect your Digital Presence
- Make Copies of Digital Media
- Figuring out your Financial Accounts
- Taking care of your Online Bills
- Reviewing your Business Accounts & Files
- Considering a Legacy Planner
1.Protect your Digital Presence
The last thing we would wish to allow after death is the infringement of privacy and imposing our identities online by hackers. It’s no secret that our social media account contains a wealth of information regarding our memories, friends, and photos. Therefore it is important to make a conscious decision now about what you would wish to happen with your social media account when you die.
Would you prefer for them to become pages of remembrance; which can happen on Facebook.
Would you prefer someone that you trust to be in control of accounts to deactivate them for you after your death?
Or entrust a family member with the task of consolidating whatever assets deemed sentimental to them.
Whichever the case is, keeping your choices informed to the other party is important and should be communicated early.
2.Make Copies of Digital Media
It is the best way to keep sentimental and personal items that matters to you and your family preserved and always accessible via a backup site or hard drive.
Separately video contents stored within Personal Devices can also be uploaded onto a common sharing file in iCloud ( if you are using Apple) or dedicated third-party storage applications such as google drive or Dropbox.
Assuming that you choose to leave all social media networks, would you wish for all the posts, photos, or interactions to be downloaded and stashed into a personal hard disk in private for your family to cherish.
3.Figuring out Your Financial Accounts
Bank accounts or investment accounts aren’t as easy to access as you might expect. The prevalence of biometric ID and Face recognition technology has eliminated the use of passwords like how it was decades ago. Therefore, it is important to make sure that in your will, your digital financial assets are aligned.
Your loved ones can also face complications if your online financial account lists beneficiaries to others, and differs from your will. Make sure to consistently update your will and beneficiaries whenever you experience a life change.
4.Taking Care of your Online Bills
Monthly Netflix subscriptions, monthly recurring bills. What happens to all these past due bills when you pass on?
You must keep a list of consolidated subscriptions and bills so a loved one can refer to this list to help you cancel services that are no longer needed and to shut down future billing. Having a backload of debts to be bored by your family is not something we would want to do so after our demise. This stands to reason why, all the more, we should do pre-planning and make our children responsible for our final journey in life.
Check out the article on “Why we should be responsible for our end of life journey and not leave it upon our children.”
5.Reviewing your Business Accounts & Files
Now, this may not apply to everyone, but if you are a business owner this step is crucial.
Now, you will want to make sure that the partner or person who takes over the business will continue to have access to the company checking and savings account.
There is also a need to keep the digital branding such as the website, hosting services, or any other assets inlined with the business available. You may wish to duplicate these files into an alternate server or folder for safekeeping.
Lastly, as a step up, if you have employees whose live hood depends on the very business you own. It may be a good idea to come up with a succession plan, or business plans as to how the business will live after your demise. The key is to keep the plan open and accessible so that you may change it from time to time.
6.Considering a Legacy Planner
It is unfortunate that in the year 2021, the law in Singapore does not yet have a proper definition of digital assets in Singapore. It is an important aspect that should be considered for legacy planning, and should you be unfamiliar, it is always better to engage a legacy planner to assist you in this. For a more detailed breakdown of the process, consider reading up this article written up by a local law firm
now to keep it simple, the classification of “Digital Assets” refers to assets that are in digital form and have a monetary value. For example, unpublished writing of a famous writer or an unpublished song of a famous singer. Personal online trading accounts and digital wallet accounts.
Unfortunately, social media accounts or photos and videos do not classify under Digital Assets.
With this understanding, here is how you can incorporate Digital Assets into legacy planning
- A Memorandum (List) of everything classified as digital assets, and how the Testator intends to distribute them upon your demise can be curated.
- In the Memorandum, A record of all the username, passwords, registered email address, and security questions and answers are to be made.
- The Memorandum is not be written inside the will and should be kept by the Testator to continuously update the contents and passwords up till his or her demise.
- The Testator is to appoint a Digital Executor on how the Memorandum ought to be retrieved and what his or her responsibility consists of.
- With the information provided, the Executor can then login into the testator’s account and perform the pre-arranged task.
- Lastly, the Executor can also delete information or close the account on behalf of the Testator.
Lacking a proper memorandum may risk depriving his beneficiaries of the digital assets. Hence, attention should not only focus on real assets, but the digital assets left online which no one else except ourselves will be aware of.Where do I start?
So to start planning or to leave it until the time arrives?
Well, death is a paradox itself, there countless ways you could leave anytime. Prepare as we may, but we will never be fully prepared when death greets us face front. It is a matter of fact that life and death are inseparable phenomena in human existence and, it is precisely so that we ought to make plans to ease the lives of those that we will dearly miss when it happens.It’s Up to YOU to take charge of your digital assets.
At the end of the day, we’re all different people with different preferences for how we would like our digital assets to be managed.
Some will prefer to still have their social media accounts present to act as memoirs.
Some may wish to have everything wiped into a clean state. To help ease the journey of grief.
And others may who just wish to leave something deeply meaningful in private for their loved ones.
Whichever option we may choose, failure to properly manage our digital assets may well disrupt just what we wish to see after our passing.Live Life, Love Life. A Message from our sponsor:
Whether you are planning your own or your loved ones end of life plan, Nirvana Memorial Garden can help you achieve total peace of mind and long-term savings with a comprehensive suite of funeral and preplanning services.
To learn more, visit us at www.nirvana.com.sg