It isn’t something that any of us want to talk about but your online legacy is something you should think about. Imagine the scenario where you meet with an unfortunate accident. Your family maybe grieving but on top of that they can’t access your computer because they don’t know the logon password. The £30 voucher in iTunes on the family iPad, the £150 sat in your Paypal account from selling junk on eBay is inaccessible. The online meter reading for the gas and electric is due and they don’t know the online password, or your email password to be able to change the account details. Worst of all, you are still a Facebook friend, beyond the grave!
Trying to close accounts on behalf of passed away loved ones can be an arduous task, copies of death certificates, proof of your identity, as well as knowing other memorable and personal information. A better solution could be to create a “digital will” alongside your normal will. In the USA people are being actively encouraged to bequeath their iTunes music and film libraries.
In the same way that you give family a spare set of house keys, they also need the passwords to your accounts and computers. Of course passwords change, so this list of passwords will constantly need to be updated.
There are a number of ways you can do this, from a good old fashioned paper list in an envelope labelled – ‘open this envelope in the event of my death’. Or, an encrypted online file, of which your executor knows the password.
I hasten to add I am not an expert in law, and in some situations you would be in breach of privacy laws if you access someone accounts. But in terms of practicalities it is worth putting a failsafe in place.
Caroline The ‘PuterTutor