None of us like to talk about the end of life issues, but Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes,” is true and sooner or later, someone will be dealing with things we’ve left behind.
It seems like yesterday, sassy, opinionated and in the prime of my life, I thought the world was my oyster. But, I blinked and time slipped away faster than water through a sieve.
Now, when I open the paper, friends and acquaintances from high school look back at me from the obituary page. It gives you pause, especially when you notice their ages are within striking distance.
I lost my best friend of 37 years, almost six years ago. She died suddenly and too young. Afterwards, I made a point of getting things ready for my family. My last Will & Testament is in place, and arrangements made, right down to the last detail.
What’s Included in Digital Content?
- Email accounts
- Online Searches
- Digital Manuscripts
- Any other accounts where you have an online presence (too many to mention)
- Fiction and non-fiction featured in online magazines and journals.
What Do You Want to Happen in the Event of Your Death?
- Information to remain private?
- Information and/or accounts deleted?
- Surviving family members to have access to data?
Unless I specify who has access to these accounts, no one will.
What Can You Do?
- Put your wishes in writing.
- Google: Go to your account and create an “Inactive Account Manager. Without this, family members will, typically, need a court order to access.
- Facebook: You can choose to set up a temporary or a permanent online memorial or delete all content from the social network after you die. However, a legacy contact most be designated for access. Refer to security/legacy settings.
- Yahoo: Based on the privacy terms each user signs, Yahoo will not disclose files and all inactive accounts deleted.
- Microsoft: Deletes inactive Outlook/Hotmail accounts; however, data may be released with a request or a court order.
- Twitter: Does not provide anyone access. Your account is deleted upon notification of death.
These steps are not difficult to complete. I took care of my Google and Facebook accounts in a couple of minutes. I would recommend if you haven’t completed a Will, consider it. Not ready to make those plans? At least write your wishes in a statement, sign, date it, attach a list of all the sites you want included, and put it in a safe place. And the last thing, talk to your family and make your wishes known.
Talking about these issues are never pleasant, but when the time comes, I want my family to have access and/or a legal right to my words and images. What are your wishes?
What do you think? Have you made arrangements?