Your Digital Afterlife in the Cloud

Posted by Charlene Delaney

A couple of weeks ago I sent out the piece on how long we should save certain records. I received the below response from a dear client of mine and thought it was definitely worth sharing with you and something we should all think about and get a handle on.

Thanks for the information. It brings to mind something that my family lived through very recently.

I had an uncle die unexpectedly back in late August and his passing has left my aunt and cousins scrambling to pick up the pieces of his digital life. Since most of his records were electronic, there was no physical paper trail to figure out where the money was coming from and which debts needed to be serviced. Even worse: he was the executor of his sister’s living will who is in a hospice. He was sending money every month to pay for her care, but nobody knows from where the money was being drawn. My cousin called me in tears a few weeks ago, completely frustrated at her attempts to log in to his PC or his email account. She was hurt and angry that her father would subject the family to this ordeal. It was gut wrenching.

So now I want to remind people that online accounts are just as important as physical documents important at the end of life, if not more so as we continue to move more of our life into the ‘cloud.’ (So ironic since the cloud is a metaphor for the after-life!)

Another resource I’ve discovered is a list of digital “post death” services that can help the survivors. They would have to be setup ahead of time but they could be used, for example, to trigger an email with account and password information. 

http://www.thedigitalbeyond.com/online-services-list/

Hope this wasn’t too depressing! Just wanted to share this with you.

If you missed the previous piece, click here: How Long Should You Save Records?

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