When most people think about preparing for their own death, they inevitably think about creating a will… it is sort of the default consideration regarding death planning. Of course, there is no question that creating a will is an enormously important step, and one that is ignored by far too many people who simply do not want to think about death. However, in the modern technological world there are many other considerations beyond a simple final will and testament!
For example, a significant percentage of people also do not take the time to consider the online world when they are planning for their passing. Today there is an enormous amount of information, property, finances and other important considerations that are found only online. Each of these elements must be appropriately planned for in order to confirm the appropriate utilisation and management of them after your death.
The most forward-thinking people will consider properly preparing for their various online profiles, email addresses, and any cyber-real estate, such as websites or blogs. If you think about it, these are all things that you might own… and they are also things that may need to be distributed to family and loved ones after your passing. Ignoring these important elements can have long-term disastrous effects!
Advance communication and/or directives with your family and colleagues is also important with these types of online considerations. For example, if you own websites or blogs, would your relatives know what to do with them?
If you manage your money and have accounts online, would they know how to properly access any online payment accounts you have? If they do not have this information, then it could actually be possible that your entire online empire may grind to a screeching halt without you behind the wheel. Even though you might want your family and friends to be able to access these websites, assets, and other things, unless you take control in advance it may be impossible.
Fortunately, because of the ever-growing extensiveness and importance of the online world, there are a number of online tools available that can help you to take care of all of these potential problems in the event of your untimely demise. It can no longer be ignored, and savvy companies have created user-friendly applications and services that can assist you in making sure that your online life is secure, protected, and set for proper management if you should die unexpectedly.
Take a few moments now to review them, and see what steps you can take to protect your online assets and properties, as well as becoming appropriately prepared in case the unthinkable actually occurs. It only makes sense for people to realize that there is no time like the present for looking at these details!
If you have a blog or website, you don’t want it to languish in cyberspace. This can be especially important if your site has been generating revenue that you may have intended for a beneficiary to receive. You want to be sure your digital assets are passed on to whom you designate.
Handing over access or even ownership to a beneficiary of your estate needs to be considered carefully. While it’s not common to list cyber-real estate in a will, it has been done. In fact, it should be done as though the site was an asset just like a car or a house, especially if it earns income that your loved ones could benefit from.
ProBlogger.com offers an excellent checklist that should be mandatory reading for anyone who owns income-generating sites. It includes making sure you leave detailed instructions for how to contact people, hosting, log in details, passwords, and access to any payment accounts.
It may also be worthwhile showing a family member or trusted friend exactly how your blog works before anything should happen. Many bloggers and online entrepreneurs tend to work alone, so the potential to lose a viable online business is high unless steps are taken to counteract this.
Another valuable service to consider for your estate (especially digital estate) planning needs, is AssetLock. It is a service that provides storage space for loads of important information that is critical to know after your death. This could include financial information, insurance policy details, passwords for email accounts and other accounts. It could also include final thoughts and last wishes for recipients. You can even store letters to be sent to your loved ones after your passing.
One of the nice benefits of AssetLock is that you can customise it. For instance, you are able to choose your number of recipients you require to unlock a particular account. If you require 10 people to verify your death with AssetLock then so it is. You can also determine the time lag between when an account is unlocked and when that information can be sent out.
The prices are from just $9.95 – $239.95. The highest price is for a lifetime membership. You can go on their website and compare the different plans, and they also have a demonstration that provides additional information.
Planning your estate is extremely important it can save a lot of hassle and legal run-around for your family and loved ones after your passing. After your passing should not be a time for relatives to be handling difficult legal matters when emotions are high and grief is strong.
There is not necessarily a requirement to have a will or an estate plan. However a well-thought out will or estate plan will save your relatives a lot of grief while navigating the complex state and federal legal waters. A good will will incorporate all the necessary basics of protecting your assets and maintaining control of them.
Wills are often a part of an estate plan. They are the best ways to make certain that your property and other assets are distributed in the manner that you wish. A will that is drafted well will determine who receives your assets. It can often prevent unwanted squabbles and disagreements among family members after your passing. One thing to note, however, is that a will drafted 10 years ago will not be as valid as a more recent one. You should update your will regularly to be certain that it is current with existing laws.
If you are interested in crafting a will, there are several choices available to you. You should first have a consultation with a lawyer who specialises in wills and estate planning. This way you are certain that your document is up to the standard of the tax laws and codes. There are basic versions that are already done for you and you simply fill in the blanks.
The only problem is that these ready-made wills do not provide the customisation that is often required for most situations. A will that is individually drafted will give you more flexibility and it will say exactly what you want it to say.
After you have created the will and customised it to your preferences and wishes, you should update the document anytime you have major changes in your life. For example, a marriage, children, a divorce or major fluctuations in your assets and net worth should be times that you take a look at your will and see if it needs to be revised. This is never wasted time because it will bring you peace of mind and will be much easier on your family.
If you haven’t made an appointment with an attorney to have a legal will made up already, you might want to create one online in the interim. This should just be a temporary solution, however. Ask anyone who has had a relative who has passed away intestate (i.e. without a will). Find out from them if it was easy for the relatives to access any part of the deceased person’s estate and you’ll understand why this is such an important consideration.
If you are interested in using an online will site, here a couple of reputable ones to consider – BuildAWill.com, or even DoYourOwnWill.com, can be a good way to at least make your wishes for any of your assets known. There is a relatively small cost associated with this, but the end result for your beneficiaries will be worth the out-lay.
If you pass on, your e-mail accounts and other digital sites will continue to exist. In fact, e-mail accounts could continue to receive emails for as long as your provider allowed them to continue coming in or until your inbox is full.
For instance, if you have a Gmail account, your beneficiaries may have to verify all kinds of details regarding your death in order for them to even access your account. It may not be a simple matter of a relative just logging into your Gmail account, especially if they don’t have the passwords or access details left for them.
There are several services that are available to help distribute your digital assets after you have passed on. One helpful site that helps with taking care of email accounts and other online data is PCPro. Going through their site may give you a far greater awareness of some of the issues surrounding data and email access after your death.
Another website is called Entrustet. One nice thing about this site is that it is free and allows you to pass on your digital assets to (up to) 10 people and also 1 executor. The executor is the one assigned to distribute the digital assets of those you have designated. These digital assets could include social networks, blogs, email accounts, social network accounts, financial accounts and any other internet sites or files you might have.
Deathswitch is also another service to consider. This site will ask you to enter a password (that has been pre-determined) at periodic times. If the password has not been entered at the specified intervals then the website determines that you must have passed away or are seriously injured which precludes the ability to keep up with accounts and other digital assets. Once this has been determined, Deathswitch will start to send out personalised messages that have written beforehand to your specified contacts.
You can use the service in several ways but the most common way is through passing on passwords, final thoughts, last wishes and words, notes of affection and even funeral instructions.
It is a free subscription and with the subscription you are allowed to create 1 message that can be sent to 1 recipient. If you opt for the $19.95 a year, you can send (up to) 30 messages including file attachments. Futuris.tk is another choice to send out a lot of messages in bulk. It is not free, however. The nice thing, however, is that you can add pictures, videos and other attachments.
You will be able to find a significant number of websites that keep track of newspapers and periodicals for new obituaries. There is also an option of creating a beautiful online memorial which can allow people to visit from afar, pay their respects, and even see selected photographs from the life of a loved one who has passed on.
Websites such as Legacy.com or LivingTributes.com are specifically designed to let loved ones create a special digital commemorative to you. Depending on what you are looking for, it is possible to include an online guest book that will allow visitors to the memorial to sign in and register their fondest memories as well as leaving their condolences.
This is one instance where technology shrinks the world in a very meaningful way, because there are often friends and family members who may be far away when a loved one dies. The online memorial allows these people a chance to take part in the remembrance of you after you are gone, and helps them not to feel completely isolated from the family’s grieving process.
It is important to recognize that the creation of an online memorial does more than just allow you to make sure you are remembered after death. The process also gives loved ones a chance to grieve properly, and to feel like there is a place where they can go to remember you. It is a digital touchstone for family and friends to visit, wherever they may find themselves in the world, when they want to remember you. It also allows them to read and share memories and stories of their lives with you, and to leave messages when they are thinking of you.
A number of online memorial companies also offer special services designed for the family and friends of those who have died, and these can also offer some help for those who are trying to emotionally process your passing. For example, Remembered-Forever.org allows visitors to light a digital candle in remembrance of the person they love, combined with a special message of love and concern. Many of these websites will also offer the opportunity for visitors to send gifts to the bereaved to further express their condolences.
In addition, it is important to recognize that some of the best online memorial sites make a point of including extensive information for visitors on grief counseling, and links to professional websites for those who are having extensive difficulties in dealing with your death.
There may also be helpful articles for friends of the deceased regarding the best ways to assist surviving family members in coping with their loss. There is no question that losing a family member is a difficult and trying time, and online memorials are an excellent example of technology being employed to effectively assist with this challenge.
Any forward-thinking individuals who are tech savvy will want to have these kinds of services in mind to assist their family and friends with managing things after they have passed away.
Unfortunately, death is a part of life. None of us really want to think about it but it is an unfortunate and inevitable aspect of life. When we are gone, much of our what was part of life still continues and it important to take measures to safeguard those assets. Without preparation beforehand, there can be many loose ends that are never tied up which can lead to problems in the future.
Here are some final tips as you make your final preparations.
Though we will not be here forever, our online lives continue on, and we must make the proper preparations to ensure our online life is in the right hands.