Digital Death – Preparing For The Great Beyond


What happens to our online data when we die ? – remember you can’t take it with you

We set up estate plans for our money, our homes, our keepsakes, our pets —  but what about our digital assets?

Your photos, your social media posts, and your music, books and other digital assets, are a key part of your legacy.

However – Do you want your partner to know everything you did online ???

Can your partner use the computer ?

  • I have seen partners with no idea , I have had to organise email notifications telling people that their partner has died
  • Can they access banking etc

So how do you begin :

  • Identify your assets and accounts in one comprehensive and organised list – needs to be kept up to date ( passwords etc )
  • Grant third parties ( your family , spouse , friends ) authorization to those assets and accounts
  • Communicate – tell your family members they will be responsible for these assets in the event of your death


  • Allows the executor of a will to request that an account is shut down or memorialised – requires proof of death – you can only get and see what the deceased has chosen to share ( no private messages )
  • You can allow the people that can control your account after you die a “legacy contact “


  • Twitter has a policy that allows your executor or a family member to have your account deactivated. But it won’t allow that person access to your account, and it retains all the information.


  • Google offers an Inactive Account Manager service by which an account holder can opt to have a trusted friend or family member sent an email in the event of their account being inactive for a certain time. The mail contains a link from which particular types of content, as defined by the account holder, can be downloaded.( May not want to see everything you did on Google )


What about music , books , films that you’ve bought on iTunes.

  • That property dies with the person who bought it. The reason for this is that in paying for a music track, you don’t actually buy the music. Instead you obtain a licence to listen to that music, The licence is not transferrable, online distribution now provides a means by which the conditions of the licence can be enforced.

Author: Adelaide Techguy

Richard Pascoe is a technology consultant & technology commentator for the media on FIVEaa , ABC Adelaide , PowerFM , 5MU , 7AD and 7BU and has been seen on the Channel 7 news , Channel 9 News , Channel 10 news and Today Tonight . Richard gives his opinions on Microsoft , Google , Apple and deals with personal computers , smartphones and tablets.

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