For many of us, the Internet has opened a portal to new friendships, new sources of information, new social settings, and new business opportunities. It is expected that by 2013, close to 100 percent of the United States population will be using online services for everything from talking to friends to making business deals – all totally accomplished via the Internet. Unfortunately, many do not realize that their online legacy may be lost and what could be a large part of your family’s inheritance may become cyberlocked and virtually impossible to open.
What happens if you died tomorrow? To whom were you going to leave your PayPal account or your online game identity? Think of how many friends you have “online”. How many would find out and how would they find out that you are not returning to your favorite chat room, game, or blog? How many will assume you found another interest that kept you away from the computer or believe a recent online argument stopped you from logging on?
Many people have accounts with services such as PayPal, ETrade, online Internet banks, or other online companies. Yet others like to read data off the internet such as Revolut bank review. Most people manage any stocks or funds solely while on the Internet. Others have developed a business through eBay for selling items and all of which has to be personally handled on a daily basis.
Many family members may not be aware that you have made several close friends that would want to know if something happened to you. Which of your family members will know how to contact your friends or business associates in order to inform them of your death? Who would have access to your passwords or even know what sites were important to you?
The reality is that everyone does die and important information has been lost due to privacy issues, website and company terms of service, and absolutely no way for family to notify friends or business associates of your death because they do not have the information they need in order to do so.
It is already well known that most people keep their online access private and do not share passwords, online account numbers, or access codes with anyone else, not even family members.
This situation has created a new industry in the online world. One, called Legacy Locker, will store your passwords, access codes, online content, photographs, videos, and any other digital information that you consider to be important, for a fee. Other sites called Deathswitch and Slightly Morbid are setting up emails that will automatically be sent after the user has not logged in either within a certain timeframe or after notification by the family of the user’s demise. There are certain to be many others who will develop their own “storage area” for private personal and business related assets.
According to Computer Industry Almanac Inc, their Internet usage statistics show there were over 1.2 billion PC’s in use worldwide by the end of 2008. In the United States, over 264 million PC’s were in use with the country maintaining a number one lead of over 22 percent of the world’s population and over 86 percent per capita “online”. With personal computers being used for both business and personal reasons, a great deal of information is being opened up to all users. In the United States alone, over 44 percent of the population has been responsible for generating this information through web pages and other online services.
Who will receive your online assets? No one if you do not take steps to make sure those assets can be made available to your loved ones or other significant members of your online community.
Even if you believe these new up and coming industries may not be as safe and secure as you would like or feel you would rather not put important information online, it behooves you to consider saving your important information on paper or to a flash drive to be accessed by family members after your death. Instructions dictating what you want done with your digital assets (and even your gaming name) are just as important to you as with what happens with real or personal property.
Make certain you have included important websites, passwords, user names, the names or online identities of those who need to be notified, and the locations of other stored content. The old-fashioned bank safe deposit boxes have been dependable for years. Make sure a trusted friend, relative, or attorney has the information about how to access your digital assets and keep your online legacy safe and accessible for your family and friends.