Planning for the Digital Afterlife

March 28, 2016

As we get older, we begin to think about what we’ll leave behind. Some leave money, others leave heirlooms, but most try to avoid leaving additional work for their loved ones. Through this desire to care for those we love most, we’ve developed wills and life insurance to make the days after we pass less stressful and as simple as possible.

In previous decades, this has been straightforward. You fill out forms, get them notarized, and let your family know where to find them when the time comes. However, the introduction of the digital age has given us more to consider. Think of how many important things you may have stored on your computer, email, even social media accounts. In order to avoid losing all of these things completely, it’s time to consider your “digital afterlife.”

There’s nothing more annoying than forgetting your password and having to reset it. It’s clumsy, difficult, and time consuming. It also requires knowing the password to another account, typically your email. Now imagine trying access an account for someone who’s passed away, and having no way to reset the password.

This is easily avoided by keeping all of your device passwords in a letter, kept alongside your will. It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate, but a little bit of effort on your end may save your family hours of frustration after you’re gone.

Online Services
LastPass, an online password archive, offers an emergency access feature. While you can use it day-to-day to keep all of your passwords updated, the site allows you to designate a trusted individual who will receive access to your passwords after a pre-determined time of inactivity. When you stop using your computer, an email will be sent to you, and if you do not decline the request, your designated person will receive access. What an easy way to not have to worry about keeping an updated password list!

GhostMemo is a service that sends out an email to your contacts, letting them know you’ve passed on. How does it work? They’ll send an email after you’ve been inactive for a set amount of time with a “proof of life” link. If you don’t click on it, an email is sent out and your contact list is informed of your passing.

Afternote is a lot like LastPass, in that you choose an individual to be your “digital trustee.” This person is responsible for reporting your death to Afternote. You’ll receive a notification and an opportunity to cancel their access. If this isn’t done (which, if you’ve passed, won’t be), your trustee will receive access.

It’s important to consider all things we leave behind, and your online presence is certainly at the top of the list. Save your loved ones hours of frustration, and be sure to document your passwords for their use after your passing.

If we at Kemp Harvest Financial Group can help you in any way, please feel free to contact us.

For more topics like this, check out our radio show “Retirement Plain and Simple” every Saturday morning at 8 on WNPV 1440 AM and like us on Facebook!

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