Fox 11 News in West Palm Beach, FL, details the problems Karen Prangley had with her dad's unexpected death in its report, “Dealing with the loss of a loved one in the digital age.” Her father Greg suffered two devastating strokes at the age of 62.
Greg’s entire business was tied to his Yahoo email account, and within four weeks the family business collapsed.
It’s a word to the wise, and one the senior editor of CNET recommends: do more than just share your passwords. You need to create a plan for your digital inheritance.
Access each individual online service you use and look for the page on each one, where you can set up your legacy contact or your wishes for what should occur to your account and your information when you pass away.
Be sure to include your digital life expectations to your will, and as part of estate planning, name a Data Executor who has your permission to access your accounts. Give them the password information now or designate them as an authorized user on your online accounts. Here are the steps to take:
- Establish a Data Executor in your will;
- Designate your Data Executor as an authorized user on each of your social media and online accounts and/or give him or her access to your accounts now;
- Name a legacy contact on each of your social media and online accounts; and
- Provide directions in your will on how to handle your social media accounts, such as having the account be removed or creating a memorial.
The major social media sites, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, have information detailing how to do this on their sites.
Karen's father didn’t do any of this, and when he died, the family contacted Yahoo for help to access his account. However, the company's policy states, “Neither the yahoo account nor any of the content therein are transferable, even when the account owner is deceased.”
That’s a terribly hard lesson for a small business. Everything was lost.
Reference: Fox 11 News (West Palm Beach) (July 5, 2017) “Dealing with the loss of a loved one in the digital age”