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Consider your online presence when making a Will

Social media and the digital era is an ever increasing influence on our daily lives, from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night. I wonder how many people reach for their smart phones in the morning, knock the alarm off and scrawl through their Facebook or Twitter feed or look at their favourite news apps before breakfast. We’re eager to know we’re not missing out on something and we crave our entertainment fix for the morning! We proceed through the day using our emails as a primary source of communication in both business and personal life and even shop, do our banking & pay our bills online.

We have well and truly entered the digital age and we should consider how this effects us upon death as well as when we are alive; as morbid as that may seem!

Here’s a list of some personal accounts that we need passwords and usernames for on a daily or weekly basis:

  • Email account
  • Twitter account
  • Facebook account
  • LinkedIn account
  • Google + account
  • Pinterest
  • Utility bills- Gas/Water/Electricity
  • Bank accounts
  • Ebay
  • Amazon
  • Netflix
  • Insurance search sites
  • Council Tax
  • Passport/Driving License/GOV login details
  • Online shopping login details from clothes to food.
  • iTunes – other music accounts
  • Blog accounts

There will no doubt be thousands more examples!

So what happens to our e-footprint when we die? What happens to our Facebook or Twitter profiles? Or what about our iTunes or other music accounts that we’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of pounds on?

The simple answer to our  iTunes accounts is that ownership is retained by iTunes upon your death. You never actually own the music; you are just licensing the music until you die or close and delete your account. Maybe CD’s were better after all, at least you owned the CD…

Social media giants no doubt face requests from loved ones on a daily basis to delete accounts and pass on account information. Whilst Facebook and the like have the power to delete or set up memory pages in place of the deceased`s life profile, this can take time and sometimes your loved ones are simply ignored, leaving your birthday notices rolling around for years to come. Google are perhaps leading the way on this issue with their Google Inactive Account Manager – which provides for people to be listed as trusted contacts for Google to contact in the event your account lays dormant. Google really do think of everything!

The main point here is that it would probably be much better if your loved ones knew how to access all of your online accounts and act accordingly in the event of your death and in accordance with what you would have wanted but how would anyone know? Oh yes – your Will of course!

It may therefore be a good idea to consider a Social Media Will in conjunction with your ordinary Will. In reality this would just take the form of a Letter of Wishes which accompanies your Will and it could include details of what accounts you had, what you wanted to happen to them and who should access them. It would be best not to include the actual passwords within the Letter of Wishes but reference should be given as to where they are contained, for example in a folder on a computer.

If you seek guidance on Will writing then please don`t hesitate to contact us.  As you can see, we’re pretty forward thinking and we’re eager to ensure that modern Will writing services provide for the world we live in today.

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