The post-death data mistake you don't want to make

28 March 2018

The majority of people today have smart phones and use the internet to blog, do online banking, pay bills, upload photographs and use social media, as well as exchange text and online messages. Personal information is often shared and uploaded to websites and/or the cloud. This virtual presence is a global phenomenon that is set to increase with time.

However, problems can arise when somebody dies and their loved ones are unable to access the data on their phones or other devices, as these are often password protected with codes or touch ID (finger prints or even facial recognition).

Morbidly, there are reports of bereaved families using their deceased loved ones’ thumbs to unlock their phones or  tablets. It is reported that a body must be slightly warm in order for this to work due to the technology sensors.

Social media and networks have different policies when it comes to death. Facebook allows the appointment of a ‘legacy contact’ so that the person you nominate can look after your memorialised account. Apple and Google require sight of the death certificate before closing or releasing information.

Due to the increased use of protected digital information, it is advised that you keep your usernames and passwords safe; a copy of these could be kept with your Will so that your executor/loved ones can easily access these. Alternatively, there are secure companies with which you can leave your information and upon evidence of your death, the companies will release the data to the designated recipients.

In a digital age, if you’d like to ensure your loved ones have access to your online photos and accounts once you’re gone, you may want to consider putting arrangements in place now.

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