Your Digital Legacy and the Unthinkable

Like flossing your teeth, keeping track of your all your user accounts, passwords and digital assets is not easy to remember to do.  So why is it important to keep an organized record of information like this, when you can simply keep it all in your head?  Because if you get hit by a bus tomorrow, you want someone close to you to be able to access all this information in order to wind up your affairs and pass along your digital legacy to people who are important to you.

What digital assests are we talking about?  Things like:

  • Online Account Information: Facebook, Blog’s, websites, Email, and Shopping sites.
  • Hardware: including computers, thumb drives, backup drives and DVD’s… Any hardware that you have personal data stored on.

What got me thinking about this?  I saw a thought provoking article on the American Bar Association’s web site, called Estate Planning for your Digital Assets, by Dennis Kennedy.  Here are 3 important steps taken out of his somewhat lengthy article:

Step 1. Inventory Your Digital Assets: After the inventory is complete, put the list (including user names and passwords) in a secure place, possibly in a safety deposit box along with your will.
Step 2. Identify Appropriate Help: Let one or more people know about your inventory, so they know it exists and where to look for it when it will be needed.
Step 3. Provide Instructions:  You may want friends on social networks like Facebook or Twitter to be notified of your passing.  Make sure you’ve provided a message to post (along with the passwords you’ve already written down). You may want to close up your blog with a parting message, or pass along specific information to individuals (like photos or journals).

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