Selecting a Digital Heir

I’ve started a conversation with Sheri and my sons. We haven’t completed the discussion nor arrived at any decisions yet, but the questions we’re working through has provided some interesting initial dialogue. The questions are what do they, and myself, want to have happen with my digital assets, and who to name as my digital heir?

As I wrote in an earlier post, (see each of us will leave a digital footprint when we die. This may include accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google + or Instagram, email accounts on Google, Yahoo, or MSN, networking profiles on LinkedIn, Meetup, and Referral Key. It may also include pictures on Flickr, Snapfish, iCloud, etc.?

While this list barely scratches the surface, it does bring us back to the questions each of us needs to answer:

  • What do you and your family want done with your digital assets?
  • Who will be your digital heir?

My sons’ first response when I initiated the discussion was they’d never thought about it. The questions I want them and Sheri to answer are, will they want my social media accounts to stay up for a period of time as a memorial, or “history” for them and their kids? Will seeing these accounts be a painful reminder of their loss? I’m also weighing what I want, which I haven’t answered yet.

The second step in this process is naming a digital heir, a person who will carry out my wishes on my behalf. This person will be named in my will and given the information they need to enact my wishes consisting of an electronic file containing a list of all my accounts along with login and passwords. This file should not be recorded in a will as wills may be available to view as part of the public record in different states. I’m currently evaluating services such as Password Box, KeePass, Password Safe, etc. to see if one of these will securely help in the distribution of that data.

My first thought was to name my wife, Sheri, as my digital heir, but we travel together so I may pick one of my sons. Because we’re a blended family, I believe it’s important to understand what Sheri, my sons, and I want to happen with my digital assets, be in agreement as much as possible, and have my wishes included in my will to avoid as much conflict as possible.

Facebook has recently augmented their approach to this issue by now allowing users to select a legacy contact. You can name your legacy contact by clicking on settings and then security and it’s found at the bottom of the page. Facebook only allows one legacy contact for now, but I expect that will change to allowing a contingent contact if the primary one has also passed away.

What do you want to happen with your digital assets, and what criteria will you use to select a digital heir? Share your thoughts, suggestions, and questions with me on our Google +, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Evie Wise
Evie Wise


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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