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Have you thought about your digital legacy? - DFSIN - SFL

Have you thought about your digital legacy?

With more and more aspects of our lives playing out through technology platforms, a new question is starting to emerge: what happens to someone’s data when he or she is no longer there to use it?

February 22, 2022

Online accounts, photos, music files, email or text message threads… The tracks that we leave all over the Internet and the files linked to our identity could end up being much more voluminous than the physical assets we plan to leave in our wills. Is it possible to specify one’s “last wishes” in this regard?

A quick overview of a new concept: the digital legacy.

Table entitled “What are digital assets?” Broadly, these include all the goods and services associated with your online identity. Some key examples are:
•	Social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc.)
•	Email accounts
•	Instant messaging accounts
•	Cloud storage (iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.)
•	Websites, blogs, domain names
•	Subscription services
•	Music files
•	Films
•	Videos
•	Photographs
•	Ebooks
•	Accounts with online stores or payment services (Amazon, eBay, PayPal, Stripe, etc.)
•	Loyalty programs (Air Miles, Aeroplan, PC Optimum, etc.)
•	Online gaming accounts
•	Online banking or investment accounts
•	Cryptocurrency holdings
  Two pie charts illustrating that only half of respondents to a Digital Legacy Association survey re familiar with the  term “digital legacy,” and that 92.88% of respondents have not documented what will happen to their social media accounts after they die.
  Table presenting four steps to get started setting up a digital legacy plan.
1	Designate a digital executor/liquidator
This could be your estate executor/liquidator if that person has the necessary technical skills.
2	Make an inventory of your digital assets
	Including your user IDs and passwords
	Important: Keep this information in a secure place accessible only by your digital executor/liquidator.
!!!	Use a password manager if necessary (1Password, LastPass, etc.)
3	Get information from your various online services
About existing provisions in their service agreements in the event of death.
!!! Some services will automatically delete your account after a period of inactivity.
4	Document your wishes
Depending on the province, your last wishes may be expressed in different ways (e.g., notarial will, holograph, will made in the presence of witnesses), each of which must meet certain conditions in order to be valid. If necessary, ask for advice about whether your “digital” last wishes can or must be formalized in a specific way.
Table noting that checking service agreements is always a must, since in some cases sharing your access codes may be considered a breach of contract.
There is a new mechanism for that: the digital legacy
Major online service providers now offer mechanisms for transferring the digital assets you have with them.
A few examples:
“Digital Legacy”
“Inactive Account Manager”
“Legacy Contact”
Also worth considering
Various digital legacy services are also available.
 Conclusion of infographic
To find out more or get a recommendation for a digital legacy expert, talk to your advisor.