Inheriting online assets, need to plan well

Today I read an interesting article in Business Line, “Who inherits your online assets?” (syndicated from Guardian News & Media). I was unable to find the article on the net. The highlights are,

  • To begin with very few spend time writing a will.
  • Even if a will has been written it usually covers houses, cars, stocks.
  • Have people started including their online assets? Access details of email accounts, social networking accounts, paypal accounts? Doubtful.
  • If you don’t have a well defined will when it comes to online assets it will become very difficult for you to get access to those assets. In fact paypal doesn’t even entertain your requests if you are not the executor/beneficiary of that paypal account.
  • By default digital assets are “the property of the estate, even if there is no value attached to it. Blogs and photographs may be subject to intellectual property law.
  • Facebook purts the profile of deceased person into a “memorial” stage upon notification of their death. Access is changed to “friends only”. Facebook will remove the account at the request of the next of kin.

Third Party Services

For every problem there is a solution. Few services are available which will pass on all your digital assets to the person(s) you designate.

  • Legacy Locker
  • Deathswitch – prompts users for their password on a regular basis. If it doesn’t receive a response after several attempts it assumes you are dead! And it messages the access details to pre-selected recipients.

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