Have you ever received spam email from a friend who has passed
away? Or been reminded by Facebook of a schoolmate's birthday
who has only died weeks before? Though jarring, these encounters
are a fact of life today. Our online accounts may well live long
after we do.
How do we live on in the digital world?
This depends on the sites' service terms and what
information you leave behind for family or your executor. For
example, Facebook allows you to
choose between memorializing your account or permanently deleting
it. A memorialized account will remain active on Facebook for
friends and family to post to and review previously posted images
What about accounts where you purchase digital content?
Steam is a digital content
delivery system that allows users to purchase and install various
software to their PC. According to their agreement, the account is
non-transferable and there is no a special provision to grant
access to a family member or designated person. The purchased
content is lost upon death of the original account owner.
In accounting, software packages are increasingly being moved
into Software As A Service (SaaS) or cloud based offerings. This
makes it even more important to determine what your rights are
under the service agreement of that software.
Quickbooks online allows the
account administrator to designate additional users of the service.
However, only the account administrator can designate another
Sage One online indicates
that the account is non-transferable but each paid subscription to
the service is allowed two administrator accounts. Foresight in
setting up a second account would be prudent with this product.
The best way to ensure that someone will have access to your
online accounts is to make, and periodically update, a list of all
your online accounts.. The list should contain user names and
passwords for each account, sign-in links (URLs), and answers to
any secret questions you may have configured. This information
changes over time, so it is critical to keep this information in a
place that it is easily accessible to you and in a format that can
be readily modified. Provisions should be made to identify this
list in any will or estate documentation that you create.
A software tool is an easy way to store this information. For
example, KeePass Password Safe is a free tool
that allows you to create a secure, encrypted, password protected
list of all your user names, passwords, URLs, and other information
that you wish to record in it. Make sure that you keep a backup
copy of your password file and that you record your master password
somewhere where it can be recovered by an authorized
Like taxes, death is inevitable, but luckily most of us will
have the time to prepare for it. If you are active online,
especially with your business, planning is critical to manage your
digital footprint in the afterlife.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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