Who Will Grant Your Last Wishes?
Take inventory for survivors and your peace of mind
The start of a new year and again at tax time are times when I think “What would happen if I get hit by a bus? Are my affairs in order?” This niggling thought especially nags at me because I’ve heard about the aftermath in several cases. Each one is different.
The case for digital marketers, like me, is different too. We have zillions of accounts, subscriptions and income streams on top of the normal set of financial accounts, physical assets and legal agreements. We have clients and might also have employees or independent contractors.
“There are more than thirty million dead people with profiles on Facebook . Chances are, one day you will be one of them — it is estimated that by the year 2100, there will be roughly 3.6 billion dead profiles. Soon dead Facebook users will outnumber the living.”— Digital Legacy: Take Control of Your Digital Afterlife — Daniel Sieberg and Rikard Steiber
Apart from your own estate plan for your personal health and financial directives, you may have records and access to client information with a responsibility for the disposition of what is in your possession.
Take inventory, designate a responsible executor or party, provide instructions and location of documents critical to fulfill your wishes. Add admins or legacy contacts to your accounts.
📷 Digital assets – Document your domain(s), ebooks, courses and other digital products, ecommerce shop and payment systems, software, photos and images, storage and backups, emailing and other lists of prospects and customers, social media accounts and passwords.
💻 Physical assets – List computers, cell phone, keys, safe deposit and post office boxes, home safes, cameras and/or podcasting equipment.
💰 Income streams – Online shops, affiliate programs, writing and course platforms, publishing and distribution entities and Google AdSense are just a few sources to remember.
💵 Recurring expenses – Hosting, domain registration, CRM, email and funnel builders, social media schedulers, affiliates and partners, ad campaigns, subscriptions and memberships are more commitments to consider.
🏦 Legal, insurance and taxes– Articles of incorporation, agreements with clients, partners, vendors and affiliates, business license, tax documents, trusts and will, confidentiality and trademark paperwork, both in print and digital.
Even if and when you have pulled together your plan, update it during major changes. A woman failed to tell an insurance company about a second marriage and a move. Decades after she bought an annuity, the insurance company had changed three times. It took ten months to find the proper company, prove who she was and where she was. It was preventable with just a few minutes a year to do an annual check-up.
Your income streams, such as Google AdSense and YouTube may require death certificates. If they need originals, see if they’ll accept a stamped, self-addressed envelope for return; that’ll save a few bucks.
Coach caretakers not to be quick to nuke email accounts; many email addresses are the user names to get access. Some services, that might be used by multiple members, need the user account to be active. Emails may come in for one or more years later that reveal surprises.
These days, folks want to choose whether or not a Memorial page is posted on social media. You can make those choices now.
I’m grateful to Judy Millar for her post recommending Digital Legacy Plan and Digital Legacy: Take Control of Your Digital Afterlife (aff. links). Both books are helpful with details you need for decision-making, avoiding more potholes with links to address platforms. The Digital Legacy Plan offers a kit of planning tools to help you consider and organize all the moving parts.
From my experience, I know it’s a priority to put someone else on your bank account tied to your recurring charges. Funeral parlors report deaths with social security numbers to the IRS and banks may act in hours to block accounts, starting a barrage of late fees and service stoppages. Imagine phones or electricity turned off. The nuisance and the costs in time and money are unnecessary while the designated party tries to reinstate and acquire control.
Don’t discount the value of your assets. You can get estimates for your domain value from GoDaddy. If your business is sold, what are your assets worth? It well could be substantial. Another note about record-keeping here: your policies and procedures increase the value of your business.
Your plan extends beyond your digital life. AARP, the Digital Legacy Association and financial institutions, such as Wells Fargo, offer some resources and planning guides to help you get started. I’ve created my own spreadsheet that you can grab (free). Add fields to designate personal, professional or legacy. Use the legal or full customer name used to create the accounts.
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”–Benjamin Franklin
Organizing is rewarding, plus, you’ll reduce the swearing of your stewards.“One hundred years from now, there will be 1 billion dead people on Facebook.”–Digital Legacy Plan by Angela Crocker and Vicki McLeod Click To Tweet
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