Have you ever wondered what happens to your digital footprints and assets after your demise?
Consider this! A will that makes sure your accounts get passed on too.
Confused? Here’s how Mr. Khan made sure his not so tech savvy wife got the benefits of his digital investments.
Mr.Khan, 63, was a tech enthusiast and a disciplined investor. He used to trade online and had invested in some MFs through online investment. Some of the insurance policies he was holding were in a digital format too. He used to carry out several online banking transactions and had virtual cards. But his wife, was not involved in any of these.
Mr.Khan met with a sudden a death and his wife had no idea of his financial data. Their children tried to help her out, but Mrs.Khan, who didn’t even know his email password turned couldn’t even operate his online savings account. It was only a few month later that all the data was received by her thanks to Mr. Khan’s digital will.
With technology ruling the roost, we live our digital footprints everywhere.
For the physical world, you can have a registered will as per the legal formality to give rights of your physical and financial assets to your legal heirs. But how would you authorize someone to take care of your online investments?
So what is a digital Will?
A digital will works on the same principles as that of a physical will, but caters to your digital data, including your email accounts, social media profiles, user names and passwords, drive or cloud files, websites and other digital footprints. It is a formal document stating how your accounts will be handled post your demise.
How to make a digital will?
There are many ways to make a digital will, but it all depends on what digital services you use. Suppose, you use your email for your financial transactions, you can sign up for a digital will with your email service provider, giving details on what to do with your account upon your death. Email providers offer a time linked service whereby you may be considered dead if you do not login to your email for a pre-specified period of time.
The best example of a digital will service is the Google’s Inactive Account Manager which presumes you to be dead if your accounts are inactive anywhere between 3, 6, 9 or 12 months (whichever you opt for). You can choose this time limit when you sign up for a digital will with the Google’s inactive account manager.
What will happen to your digitally stored savings details in case of your demise?
Once you sign up for the digital will with service like Google’s inactive account manager, the service will try and get in touch with you at your registered phone number a month before the service gets activated.
If you do not respond to it and the time period for the inactivity service starts, the company will assume you’re no longer alive. Depending on your request, either your digital footprints would be removed from the servers or would be sent to you designated nominee (‘trusted contact’). So, your trusted contact will get access to all your files, including the login information to all your digital assets.
This helps not only in accessing your financial data, but preventing possible fraud attempts from hackers who could get into dormant accounts and misuse your financial information, including cards, bank accounts etc.
If you have made some investments that are not known to members of your family, in the event of your death, it may remain as a mystery and may get lost forever. Now if you have a digital will in place, your details will be shared to your trusted contact/s, giving them access to all your details, including the financial investments.
There are many third party service providers with whom you can register your asset details, like user name and passwords of different locations, with an activation code sent to your trusted contact in advance. So in case of your death, they can access all details through this site.
A digital will is as significant in today’s world as a legal will, to make sure that your loved ones get access to all your digital files once you depart from this world. With your financial transactions getting completely digital, a digital will makes all the more sense.