Living Forever Online ➲ A Digital Legacy or a Digital Mess?

14/9/2021

Estate Planning

Living Forever Online ➲ A Digital Legacy or a Digital Mess?

Our ever-increasing digital footprint means that unless we proactively engage in Digital Asset Management and leave a Digital Legacy Plan clearly stating our wishes, we may leave a Digital Mess offline and live forever online as Digital Zombies! Carefully consider whether your Executor/s will be able to locate and access your Digital Assets including Cryptocurrency, NFT and your numerous online accounts?

James D. Ford GAICD

Founder, M.D. & General Practice Lawyer

Contents

What is a Digital Asset Management?

What is a Digital Legacy?

Will you leave a Digital Legacy, a Digital Mess or become a Digital Zombie?

Why do you need a Digital Legacy Plan?

What are Digital Asset Directions?

Bequeathing Smart Strategies: Convey Values, Not Valuables

Upgrading to our Smarter Digital Legacy Plan

What is your Executor's Legal Status regarding your Digital Assets?

The Importance of Fraud + Litigation Prevention Technology

What is Digital Asset Management?

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is the process of storing, organising, securing, and sharing Digital Assets throughout a company.
This includes everything from photos to videos, audio files, animations, interactive ads, and more.

Businesses globally use professional Digital Asset Management systems to increase productivity, ensure brand consistency + provide a more secure centralised repository of Digital Assets.

For individuals who own Digital Assets the situation cannot be more different.

Presumably information about your Digital Assets including Cyptocurrency, NFT and your numerous online accounts are scattered across memory cards, hardware wallets, computers, laptops, tablets, phones, cameras, GoPro's as well as online across various social media platforms, cloud software + storage systems you have used over the years.

Unless proactive steps are taken to curate + manage your Digital Assets there is little prospect of anything changing anytime soon.

Do you want to leave a Digital Legacy or a Digital Mess both offline + online?

What about your Cryptocurrency or NFT fortune? Could it be lost because it cannot be found or accessed?

What is a Digital Legacy?

The following definition of Digital Legacy has been extracted from the book * Digital Legacy Plan: A Guide to the Personal and Practical Elements of Your Digital Life

A legacy is anything — material, emotional or digital — that leaves a lasting effect after we pass on.
Many think of this in terms of the material goods typically described in a last Will such as your house, your car, your jewelry, etc.
It's also familiar to think about the emotional legacy we leave in the people who survive us — children, friends, colleagues.
Your legacy is also reflected in your body of work, or the impact you have had on the world around you.
What will you be remembered for?
Digital Legacy is a modern extension of what we leave behind when we pass on.

Will you leave a Digital Legacy or become a Digital Zombie?

The majority of us lead increasingly digital lives.

In order to safeguard your Digital Assets, as part of your personal + business Digital Asset Management / CyberSecurity efforts you will most likely be using:

🔒 Encryption;

👨‍💻 Bio-metric; +

📱Other kinds of verification ➲ for example: two-factor authentication tokens, etc.

All of these security measures make it virtually impossible for your Executor / Digital Steward to access your Digital Assets after you pass away, unless you have taken the time to create a Digital Legacy Plan including Digital Asset Directions.

A Digital Legacy Plan should at a minimum consider the following:

❓When you are no longer here how will the Executor of your Estate determine the extent of your Digital Footprint? access your Digital Assets?

❓What might happen if they are unable to gain access? or are refused access to the content?

❓What if the delays involved in obtaining access are so long that a large part of your life's work, your Digital Legacy becomes lost, deleted + forgotten.

❓What if valuable Digital Assets such as any Cryptocurrency you hold is unable to be located + distributed to your beneficiaries?

❓What happens if your Executor is not digitally savvy?

❓Should you appoint a Digital Steward / Legacy Contact / Digital Executor / Technical Advisor to assist your Executor?

We strongly recommend your Digital Legacy Plan include:

✅ A signed legal authority granting your Executor / Digital Steward control over your Digital Assets; or preferably

✅ An Enduring Power of Attorney; and

✅ Carefully considered Digital Asset Directions.

Why do you need a Digital Legacy Plan?

For entrepreneurs, artists, and other professionals

🧩 Ease of business transition and succession;

🧩 Continuity of important or confidential client or corporate work;

🧩 Transfer of hard-earned social proof and follower trust;

🧩 Preservation of personal or professional reputation;

🧩 Protection of intellectual and creative property;

🧩 Strategy for online revenues or valued marketing and sales system.

For you personally

🤔 You are empowered to determine for yourself your Digital Legacy;

🦜 Leave detailed instructions for the long-term care of your Pet/s;

🧬 Think of what you want to see in your Museum of Me; and

💡 Consider whether you want to leave behind something more meaningful than material goods such as an Ethical Will / Legacy Letter?

Back in 2011 Intel created a tool they called "The Museum of Me" that automatically mined + visualised your Facebook Data

Below is a YouTube sample Museum of Me generated by Cristian Eslava from Spain in 2013

What are Digital Asset Directions?

Digital Asset Directions form part of your overall Digital Legacy Plan and list the following:

💡 Current Digital Assets (incl. current passwords, and authentication protocols); together with your

💡 Instructions regarding how to access them; and

💡 Directions regarding what you want done with them (that is, close the account, memorialise the account, make a final social media post stating … etc.).

Please note: You can update your Digital Asset Directions at anytime, by simply dating + personally signing a revised list/direction (no witnesses required).

Bequeathing Smart Strategies

Convey Values, Not Valuables

It could be a letter—ranging from half a page to a bound book—or a video recording.

There are no rules governing what goes into an Ethical Will / Legacy Letter, or when the contents should be shared with your heirs, but the idea behind it is simple: Convey values, not valuables.

Deeply rooted in western religions, the practice of writing ethical Wills has re-emerged as a way of leaving behind something more meaningful than material goods.

To learn more please read our FAQ: What is an Ethical Will / Legacy Letter?

Upgrading to our Smarter Digital Legacy Plan

For Digital Natives who have known digital all their lives and willingly embrace all digital opportunities at work or play, as well as for the rest of us, the way to take full control of your Digital Legacy is by upgrading to our Smarter Digital Legacy Plan (Self-Service is currently under Development).

As part of our upgrade package [$55 for Members; or pay Lifetime Access Fee $700] in order to create your Smarter Digital Legacy Plan you will be provided with unlimited ongoing access to your own Digital Safe Custody Vault.

Your Digital Safe Custody Vault

Your Digital Safe Custody Vault is a purpose-built secure military-grade encrypted platform designed to enable you to upload, store, manage + automatically distribute your Digital Assets +/or instructions regarding how to access them to your Executor/Digital Steward/Trustee/Confidants.

You can even pre-curate your very own "Museum of Me" which will only include what you want to leave in your Digital Legacy.

Curate your Digital Legacy at your Convenience

✅ We layout the tasks we recommend you complete to create / update your Smarter Digital Legacy Plan.

✅ You complete the tasks at your own pace whenever is convenient for you 24/7;

✅ You will be prompted to make sure everything gets done in a timely manner by automated reminders.

Read our Digital Safe Custody Vault FAQ's for more detailed information.

Contact our legal team to learn more.

What is your Executor's Legal Status regarding your Digital Assets?

Non-Economic Digital Assets

Unless adequate arrangements are made in advance via Digital Asset Directions / Smarter Digital Legacy Plan, your Executor / Digital Steward may not be able to access your phone, computer, cloud storage or email accounts without the passwords… and knowledge of which two-factor authentication method is used (if applicable).

Even if they have legal permission from an Enduring Power of Attorney +/or your Will!

Economic Digital Assets

Your Executor / Digital Steward may still be able to exert legal access to/control your Digital Assets (in some cases Grant of Probate may be required) assuming they:

1️⃣ Are aware of the existence of your Digital Asset; and

2️⃣ Your Digital Asset has economic value.

Digital Assets that can be converted to fiat currency in the real world have economic value, such as the following:

💰 Online Banking,

💰 Cryptocurrency,

💰 PayPal or Square balances,

💰 Affiliate income, etc.

💰 Website Domain/s;

💰 Trade Secrets;

💰 Influencer (Advertising Revenue Generating) Level Social Media Accounts;

💰 Creative Works - Music, Video, Digital Art, Writings, Photographs, etc.

As part of your Digital Legacy Planning we recommend you also consider whether your Digital Assets:

Generate a revenue stream or have the potential to do so?

❓Are valuable Intellectual Property?

❓Are required for the continuation of your business?

❓Are creative assets, or unreleased or unfinished works?

❓Are items you would like to keep private?

❓Whether your Digital Assets have an associated NFT (a.k.a. Non-Fungible Token)?

To learn more about NFT's we recommend our FAQ: What is an NFT aka Non-Fungible Token?

The Importance of Fraud + Litigation Prevention Technology

We strongly recommend you instruct us to ensure your key Estate Planning documents are digitally preserved for future authentication using ➲ 💡 Trax Print Fraud + Litigation Prevention Technology [Cost $22 per document].

Taking this proactive step helps prevent fraud + reduces the potential for litigation over your estate for both your physical + Digital Assets.

Contact our legal team to learn more.

Resources:

➲ Free curated list of related websites + resources see our Digital Legacy ➲ Smartlist.

➲ Free Online Course - "Your Online Legacy: Social Media After You Die" by Steve Dotto

How to add a Legacy Contact with iOS15

Credits:

Cover image courtesy of Drew Beamer on Unsplash

This blog article was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This blog article is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.