Have you received advice on how to manage your assets after death? Chances are that, in one way or another, you have. In our highly specialized service-based economy, we receive advice on a multitude of topics impacting our deaths. Financial Advisors highlight the importance of various life insurance products. Solicitors advise us on the best way to structure our wills and accountants address the other inevitable truth of life, tax liabilities.
It’s Only a Few Posts That Could Be Worth as Much as a BMW!
Who is advising us on our digital assets, the very assets that will outlive us? Is the online legacy that you leave behind worthy of being addressed by these professionals? Since the launch of our eClosure service, I have often been told, “it’s only a few posts” or “I don’t care, I am going to be dead.”
The emergence of social media and the digitisation of every aspect of our lives are not being adequately addressed by the professions, who we trust most.
The myriad of profiles that you have online are not only 1s and 0s, but say a lot, pretty much everything that needs knowing, about you. You express your emotions, you reflect, share, communicate and explore. You also make your preferences for products known online, show your connections with others and store some of your most sensitive personal data.
A McAfee survey found that we value our digital assets at around $35,000 (USD) which could mean that your online information is worth as much as a deposit on an investment property, or a brand new car. Why don’t we plan for our digital assets in the same way that we prepare for their non-digital cousins? Have the professions that we trust most neglected our digital legacy needs?
In my previous blog post, I highlighted the 3 main reasons as to why we should close down, or manage, the accounts of our friends and family after they pass away. It is not only about managing their online legacy but also about protecting their, and your, identities from fraud, which can have a negative financial impact on you and your family: 25% of all identities stolen worldwide belong to those who are deceased.
The Professional’s Duty of Care
Buzz terms such as “holistic approach”, “comprehensive planning” and “tailored advice” are thrown around to describe the advice we receive from our professionals. A truly holistic approach by any professional providing advice for our future should also address our digital legacy and online information, because of the real-life impact that the misuse of that information can have using tools such as eWishes.
A truly holistic approach by any professional providing advice for our future should also address our digital legacy and online information
So, if you are a professional, ask the question and highlight the need. Does your customer want to live online forever? Most importantly, are they aware of the inherent risks associated with leaving their personal information online?