What happens to your Digital Asset when you die?

What happens to your Digital Asset when you die?

What happens to your Digital Asset when you die?

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A digital asset is anything that exists in digital format and comes with the right to use existing in multimedia or textual content files.

Digital asset includes digital documents, audible content, motion picture and other relevant digital files that are currently in circulation or will be. They are stored on digital appliances including computer devices, storage devices and telecommunication devices.

Digital assets are categorized into different forms: Access information (account numbers and login information, the means to access other assets); Tangible digital assets, or files that hold a definable form and can be converted into physical assets (i.e., by printing); Intangible digital assets, the profiles, or comments and reviews posted on a profile; and Metadata, websites or data stored electronically with a document about the data’s access history, location tags, hidden text, author history, and other forms of metadata.

A mobile phone user looking at the screen of his smartphone
A mobile phone user looking at the screen of his smartphone

[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]Digital content can be viewed as assets, and as such, a new form of personal property, and being a property, digital assets have economic value.[/quote]Digital content can be viewed as assets, and as such, a new form of personal property, and being a property, digital assets have economic value.

While many people have built a lot of digital assets but only few think about what will happen to these “assets” when they die. It is really important therefore for a person to plan who inherits, or what happens, to his digital assets now so that when he dies, it can be properly handled.

Digital inheritance is the process of handing over of personal digital assets and rights to human beneficiaries. The process includes understanding what digital assets, the existing rights and the way of dealing with them after a person has died.

In contrast with physical assets, digital assets are subject to constant change. Digital inheritance may present a challenge for data heirs in its complexity and intricacy and may have legal implications. With the average person having multiple online accounts, digital inheritance has become a complex issue.

With the advent of high speed bandwidth, mobile computing, inexpensive, abundant storage, and now the cloud storage system, there is a great need to clearly spell out what happens to your digital assets.

Today, we create and scatter our thoughts, photos, and videos widely and with abandon. We buy and sell things and pay bills online and enjoy the convenience of online banking. What happens to all these legacies after death? Think about it.

Technology Times published a piece on how we can protect our social media account (Facebook) after death. Memorialiaation is Facebook’s way of helping to manage a deceased person’s account. But it’s also a tool that respects the last wishes or last settings, in this case, of the user. However, digital assets now cut across both social media accounts, and other digital belongings of a person.

A mobile phone user seen at the Lagos Social Media Week
A mobile phone user seen at the Lagos Social Media Week

How can you plan for your digital assets?

[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]Next, assign someone you trust to serve as your “digital executor.” Your digital executor needs to be both trustworthy and tech-savvy so he or she understands not only how to access your digital assets but also why each is valuable and what to do with them.[/quote]The first step you should take is to make a list of everything you access digitally or electronically. These include the name and URL of every online account you access and a brief description of the service it provides, as well as the information someone would need to login to your account.

In many cases, the purpose of the site will be obvious, such as Facebook, Twitter or Gmail, but your mortgage company or cloud-storage provider might not be readily apparent to someone else. Remember, the purpose of compiling this list is so that someone whom you designate can serve as the executor of your online assets. So don’t assume anything will be obvious to him or her.

Take every precaution to keep it secure your digital assest to prevent theft, whether monetary or identity, and to prevent unauthorised access.

Once you have compiled your digital-asset register from memory, update your list at least once a month. This should also include online payment sites for all your monetary transactions.

Ensure that you add the answers to any security questions you created to verify your login identities. This is because your list needs to make it easy for your digital executor to access your accounts and digital assets.

Once you believe your register is complete, the next step is to determine what you want done with each of your online accounts. For example, which online accounts can or should just be closed? What do you want to be done with your blog, or website? Who should have administrative access to it, if not shutdown? Which virtual monetary accounts should be transferred to someone else? While the laws governing online accounts and digital assets are still developing, the more detail you provide concerning how you want things handled, the better.

And you should definitely put your wishes in writing. The more explicitly you express your desires/intentions in writing, the greater the chance your digital executor will be able to process your digital assets and online accounts as you wish.

Next, assign someone you trust to serve as your “digital executor.” Your digital executor needs to be both trustworthy and tech-savvy so he or she understands not only how to access your digital assets but also why each is valuable and what to do with them.

Remember, if a person’s digital legacy is not properly managed, he cannot tell how it would be handled when he’s gone. Additionally, some of these assets need continuity. If you don’t plan how it should be managed after you, it would only last as long as you live.

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Success Kafoi Journalist at Technology Times Media. Mobile: 08077671673 email: success.kafoi@technologytimes.ng

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