What to do with your digital afterlife before you die
Before the internet changed everything, most of us lived our lives on a fairly local level and the words ‘Digital Afterlife’ didn’t exist in our vocabulary. When we passed away, an Obituary was all that was needed to notify 90 per cent of our contacts of our demise, but now it’s not that easy. Now there is a digital afterlife to consider.
As our digital world has opened up wide opportunities to connect all over the globe, so it lets us leave footprints wherever we go, and they’re going to take some serious cleaning up.
An offline presence is fairly straightforward to manage. With a few phone calls or letters an Executor(s) should successfully wipe their deceased relative off the record of whatever telemarketing company or utilities firm cares to call or write. But with passwords, pin numbers, security checks and many more Fort Knox-ian securities to get through, administering our digital presence is not always so simple for our digital afterlife.
How important is your digital presence?
Your digital presence is any place where you may appear to still ‘be’ after you are, well, not. For most of us this means social media accounts such as Facebook, as well as email accounts and places where your financial details could be exploited such as PayPal and eBay.
For social media, it seems many providers are moving in the same direction, and that is to create a ‘memorium’ page so you don’t have to be completely removed. Facebook, for instance, will no longer chivy your contacts to say ‘hi’ to you many years down the line, nor will it remind friends of your birthday. It will, however, maintain a page for you, which can exist long after you have passed away and will have your back for the social part of your digital afterlife.
The benefit of such a page is that sensitive information can be removed, but key information about you including some of your photos can stay as a legacy to who you once were. This can be incredibly healing for some of your loved ones who are grieving, and can be a place for ongoing commemoration of your life. In a way, you can continue to play a role in your social network even after death, we like the idea of that.
How to prepare your digital presence for a digital afterlife
Whether you like the idea of becoming a living digital memorial, or would prefer just to be deleted and left alone, it’s important to make some preparations so that your loved ones can handle your digital presence effectively.
1. Make a list of places you ‘exist’: Think about social media accounts, forums, shopping sites and anywhere else. Check your emails and junk mail for hints as to places you’d need to de-register.
2. Make a list of your usernames and passwords: It’s not safe to store this sensitive information just on your hard drive, so look to using a secure online service for this like our digital asset vault.
3. Include instructions for accessing this in your will: Your will should contain details of who will be executor to your estate, so within this you can include details of how they can access your digital credentials.
4. Leave instructions on what to do: Many relatives think that a memorial page will be nicer than just deleting you off the face of the web, but do you agree? If you’d prefer to just rest in peace, as it were, make sure you tell them that’s what you want.
Most social networks and email providers have published their guidance of what to do in the event of a user’s death within their help documents or terms and conditions. The requirements do vary from one entity to another, but most require a death certificate, as well as the document that proves your Executor to have control over your estate. Some offer downloadable archives of your activities too, which can be a nice memento for your loved ones, just so long as they’re not too racy.
Of course, if you prefer not to give your loved ones all this additional work to do, there is an easier way. Here at Lexikin, we can take on the role of your ‘Digital Executor‘, and can handle the shutting down or placement of memorial status on all your important accounts for you, with your help before the worst may happen. We’ll carry out all your wishes instantly upon notification of your death, leaving your loved ones free to grieve in peace.
Death is something that comes to all of us. Luckily, most of us have some time to prepare for it. Don’t leave a digital afterlife mess for your loved ones to clean up, Sign Up to Lexikin today and use our digital Executor services and discover a simple way to prepare for the digital afterlife.
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