As more and more of us spend a lot of our time online, it is becoming increasingly important that we consider our digital legacy after we die. Digital legacy is a relatively new concept, as historically the online population was younger and less concerned with such preparations. However, now that so many people are online, with a digital presence, the issue really has come to the foreground of legal issues.
One of the few companies who are delving into this new issue is Saga. Emma Myers, of Saga recently said in a Daily Mail Online article ‘In the same way you would not want your loved ones falling out or being inconvenienced over a missing will when you die’ (you can find the full article over at Daily Mail Online); this really gets to grips with the issue at hand. Should people be producing digital wills as well as conventional ones?
There are arguments for and against the creation of digital wills but most people will agree that there is an issue regarding our digital legacies once we are gone, and that something needs to be done about it. Saga has produced a digital legacy guide which should provide some in-depth details on the issue.
If you are going to create a digital will there are three key steps that you need to take. Initially you have to be aware of all the online accounts you have and to provide a list of these for a nominee to be able to access. Secondly, it is very important that you provide the log-in and password details for these accounts. Thirdly and finally, you have to make your wishes clear – this means detailing who should be in charge of these accounts once you have passed on, and what should be done with the information. This includes whether it should be passed on to a third party perhaps, or even whether it ought to be destroyed.
Of course, there are complications which arise with regard to a digital will. First and foremost is the legal complication of the ‘terms and conditions’ which will have been agreed to by any user on a given account; these could mean that any use of the log-in and password details may be illegal.
Obviously there are many problems inherent in any new technology and the intersection with the law that the technology has, but it is certainly true that this is something we really need to be looking at in the modern world.
Saga – Digital Legacy Guide & Preparation Service