What happens to your digital life when you die.Digital Death

In the past, when you died, your family would still have your computer, which they either knew the password to or, more likely, the device did not have a password. They would find family documents, photos, and videos when going through your machine.

Today, you probably store your data in online services like Onedrive, Google Drive, Dropbox and many other “Cloud” storage areas. Your family are unlikely to know about all your storage areas and even less likely to have login details, especially if you follow good security practices.

Then there is what to do with social media accounts; I still have friends on Facebook who died years ago. Facebook allows you to specify a legacy contact, a trusted person who can memorialise your account. Google will enable you to set policies about what happens to your data if it is not accessed for some time and allows granting access to a nominated person.

Will your Cryptocurrency be lost when you die?

Now there are cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. If nobody knows about your Bitcoin wallet or how to log in, your bitcoins are lost forever. There is no central bank to grant access or change the password.

A recent news story is the most extreme example of this problem and involves the CEO of a cryptocurrency exchange who died unexpectedly. He allegedly was the only one with access to the passwords, and his death has resulted in the loss of over £110 million of other people’s money. Many conspiracy theories claim this is a massive fraud, but that is another issue.

Planning for your digital death.

Planning for your digital death is essential. Make a list of all your online accounts and login details and keep it updated. Store it somewhere your family can access it and tell them where it is. A good solution would be to print it out and store it in a fireproof safe.

This document is valuable and dangerous, so when you update it, don’t forget to shred the old copy with a quality shredder.