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what happens to your data when you die

What happens to your data when you die?

If you are reading this, there’s a chance that you’re like me: have a large digital footprint: from email accounts to content that you’ve created, music library, assets on the cloud and social media accounts. Law is not too up to date on this topic,
It sounds morbid but, I’m often wondering what’s going to happen to my cloud account and the over 500 GBs of photos I’ve had stored in different virtual assets when I’m no longer around.
Since death and its nuances have become a recurring topic in my household, I decided to research about what’s going to happen to my data when I no longer suffer from personhood.

These are my findings:

1. You’re living two lives, adding the 2.0 one to your will is a good idea

There are two main things to consider: What will happen to your accounts and what will happen to the data contained therein.
For example, you can give someone authority to delete your Google account and to download all your photos stored there after you die.
You need to plan what’s going to happen to your digital life, such as having it deleted or having access to accounts transferred to family members — and then clearly spell out your intentions in your will.

2. Music and streaming services: they’re gone with you.

This subject is a particularly tricky one. Your iTunes or Spotify music is basically a license and, an agreement between you and Apple, so it dies with you. Purchasing and downloading a song from iTunes or a book to your Kindle doesn’t give you the legal right to pass those things on to their heirs. Meaning, you don’t own it.

If the media is stored as unencrypted data on a local machine which your beneficiaries have access to, they may be able to take physical possession of your music or movies, but legally, it could be considered pirated material.

3. Personal data, keep it private

You might want to ensure private information remains private after your passing on, or perhaps make it possible for those left behind to benefit from digital assets with value, either tangible or sentimental. Your data is yours, and you allow companies to use it. What’s happening to it after you pass? The most convenient way to deal with this is to choose an executor that makes sure your data is safe and remains private.

A part of estate planning, you should set up a data executor in your will that has permission to access your account. Either give them the password ahead of time or make them an authorized user of your accounts.

I discovered that sometimes is good to go old school, my husband and I have a shared folder with our basic data, keeping these records will facilitate the process of taking care of my digital legacy.
We also included a social media addendum to my will, as a content creator I need my accounts to be taken down when I’m gone. Yes, it’s a grim subject but, the internet is forever, so I’m protecting my life’s work by planning. I don’t want my selfies to be spooking people when I pass.

Ready to start your estate planning? Have questions? Let us know or Ask a Lawyer; it’s never too early to plan and give peace of mind to your family.

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