What happens to your digital life when you die? It’s inevitable, we’re not getting out of this world alive! While it’s not something we really want to think about or dwell on, you can make things a lot easier on yourself (and your family) if you get things in order now.
It used to be that when someone died, the executor of their will would follow a standard procedure to settle their estate, clean out their house, go through their file cabinets and file a tax return at the end of the year.
Now that we’ve moved into a paperless, more digital society, we may store some things in our heads or write them down in a notebook. There should be a better way and there is.
Your digital estate falls into several categories.
- Online Bank Accounts and Financial Life
- Email Addresses and Social Media
- Digital Assets (Photos or Music)
Each one requires a strategy to ensure that it doesn’t get lost or forgotten.
Password managers can house the keys to all of your digital accounts and you can easily pass them on to a loved one.
There are several out there including 1Password, Keeper, Dashlane, LastPass. I’m a huge fan of 1Password but any of them will get the job done. It’s worth the cost you pay to have everything in one trusted system.
In addition to storing passwords, you can also store information like bank numbers, credit cards, Social Security info, and any other important information you might need to leave behind. These are encrypted files, so they are safe.
On your Apple device you have access to Keychain, but right now I would say it’s only for keeping passwords The above password managers are far superior in keeping track of your digital life.
If you have two-factor authentication set up on your device, your loved ones will need access to your iPhone Passcode, username and passwords, to intercept secondary codes. If you’re not familiar with two-factor authentication. I’ll be doing a blog post on that soon.
One option you have is to add a trusted family members fingerprint or face ID to your iPhone.
Apple makes it pretty easy to do. Those who have Touch ID can add an extra fingerprint by heading to:
- Touch ID & Passcodes
- Enter your Passcode
- Add a Fingerprint
- Go to Settings
- Face ID & Passcode
- Enter your Passcode
- Set up an Alternate appearance
Even with Touch ID or Face ID set up, you’ll need to enter the iPhone’s Passcode. So it would be a good idea to let your trusted person know your passcode.
Record and Save Emergency Info
In addition to passwords you should make other personal information readily available. These items include
- Important Contacts: who to contact at your workplace, your lawyer, accountant, executor and insurance agent.
- Instructions in case of death: details such as your burial or living will instructions.
- Location of critical papers: whereabouts of your will, passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates and any other legal documents you can think of.
- Recurring-bill details: Specify when bills are due and how they’re paid. (Autopay or where to send a check)
- Financial account details: List your retirement and investment accounts, insurance policies, bank accounts and credit cards.
These can be stored in a secure note in your password manager or you could create a spreadsheet that contains the information.
After you’ve done all the above, you should share the details with your family or trusted individual. If you need a little help getting everything organized, download my resource guide to get you started: What Happens to Your Digital Life When You Die: A helpful list of Accounts to Cancel Upon My Death. Click on the image below if you want a copy. Fill in all your information and keep it with your important papers and let someone know where it is.
Check out the Work With Me page if you need 1 on 1 assistance with your Apple devices.