Digital inheritance is the process of handing over personal digital assets to human beneficiaries. These digital assets include digital estates and the right to use them. It may include bank accounts, writings, photographs, and social interactions. Digital media play an increasingly important role in life and digital inheritance is what is left behind when a person dies.

In the former category are personal computers, mobile phones, and other devices, and in the latter category are the online corporations such as GoogleAppleMicrosoft, and Facebook. In between is a grey area of forums, blogs, personal websites, and online banking. In contrast with physical assets, digital assets are ephemeral and subject to constant change. 

Intellectual property and privacy are additional factors. Digital inheritance may present a challenge for data heirs in its complexity and intricacy. With the average person having 25 online accounts, digital inheritance has become a complex issue.

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Digital Assets and Rights

Any digital asset that has been created or uploaded to a digital store, such as a social media page or website, is considered to be an asset. When a person dies, the digital store is handed over to the next person in the owner’s family. This is done by publishing the owner’s profile (in social media or websites) for the next owner, as well as their child or friend, or in-laws. The digital assets also include personal data and photos. Digital rights include any code, design, data, and rights, that are created by the owner and cannot be sold, rented, or otherwise alienated. When you create, upload, post, and transfer your own content to a digital store, you own these rights to give to the owner of the store.

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What To Do After a Person Has Died?

There are several services which store account passwords and send them to selected individuals after death. Some of these periodically send the customer an email to confirm that that person is still alive; after failing to respond to multiple emails, the service provider assumes that the person has died and will thereafter distribute the passwords as arranged.

The Data Inheritance function from SecureSafe gives an “activator code” that the customer transfers to a trusted individual, and in the event of death that individual enters the code into Secure Safe’s system to get access to the deceased person’s digital inheritance.

If you are concern about your privacy after you die, record all passwords so your executor or someone else you designate can manage or close your accounts after your death. Store the list in a mutually agreed and secure place.

Don’t put passwords in your will, though, because that becomes a public document. Consider it an act of love for those you leave behind to be able to sort through your online life or to unlock your digital assets without a harrowing effort.

Conclusion

The rise of digital technology has made it easy for us to store and share data. The growing number of personal devices allows us to exchange data via the Internet for almost any purpose. Unfortunately, this environment is also prone to attacks and hacks. It is thus important to protect the data and devices that we rely on.

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