What will happen to my online world when I die?
Almost everybody I know has some kind of online presence, whether they are a Facebook addict, a user of Paypal, writing or subscribing to a blog, or a member of a gaming site – the possibilities are endless!
However, I do wonder how many people have thought about what will actually happen to their online world when they die? The answer at the moment is not so clear cut.
I have done some research into this topic for a few clients and I am surprised at the variation of practices between online institutions. Some of them will simply close the online account on production of a death certificate. Others, such as Facebook, offer more sophisticated options such as 'memorialising' your account so that friends and family can continue to post messages (not sure what I think about this one!) Others have no set procedure to follow just yet.
So what can you do at the moment to help your friends and family deal with your online 'assets' when you die? You might like to leave a letter listing all of your accounts, passwords and wishes for them to find. But be careful as this might in reality not be such a good idea – someone accessing your accounts could be infringing privacy laws! There are also online services out there which claim to professionally store passwords for your Executors to access – these might be worth a look.
I am looking forward to receiving some clear cut guidance in this area to provide to my clients – in the meantime I guess we will just have to wait for the law to catch up with the online world!