Whilst we’re all busy posting selfies, tweeting, and sharing our memories on our various social media accounts – have any of us thought about what happens to our digital legacy when we are gone? 

The mass revolution of the internet and social media means that we are spending an ever increasing amount of time online.  Not only are we spending time online, we’re sharing our lives digitally with those we love and our friends possibly all over the world.  But what happens when we’re not around anymore?  We carefully collect and share precious moments throughout our lives in this digital world creating a portfolio of our lives filled with memories.  This is why many people who are planning for later life are opting to save their profiles for their family to enjoy once they are gone. 

The great news is that we can choose what happens to our social media accounts after we die.  The options include: deleting accounts, appointing an executor to your account and specifying how they can use it, downloading all of your data including messages and photos or ‘memorializing’ your account.  Facebook in particular has been innovative in this area providing a way for the deceased’s accounts to remain active so that friends and loved ones can leave messages and view their photos.

The island’s funeral specialists at Beckfords recognise the need to think about digital accounts and can provide help and advice in this area.  Managing director Jane Duquemin explains why it is important to think about your digital legacy. “We’ve provided an Expression of Wishes service for some time now, but the rise of the digital age means that we need to think about how our public digital information will be managed when we die.  Digital accounts can provide a great portfolio of our lives and the interaction we have with our friends and family so being able to keep this is quite special.  This is simple to do.  Beckford’s have created a specific ‘Digital Legacy document’ for anyone to use without charge and this is available to download from our website.” 

Whilst it can seem like a lot to think about, later life planning really can make a huge difference to the families of loved ones – they can rest easy knowing that what happens to you and your digital life when you are gone is exactly what you want. 

How to express your Digital Legacy

It’s easy to create an expression of your wishes containing a list of all the digital assets that you want to be dealt with after your death, including social networking accounts, photo archives, emails, cloud storage providers and so forth.

  • This should also include a list of passwords and logins that will enable your executor to access your computer, smartphone and the online services holding your digital assets.
  • Clearly state your wishes with regard to each service and the data held by each provider; whether you want accounts deleted, memorialized or shared with named family members and friends.
  • Ensure that you have a standard will and testament that's legally sound, and that the memorandum attached to it is kept up to date with any password changes.
  • Drop in or post a copy to Beckford's and we can keep this on file for you. Just let someone know where you’ve kept it or list this in your personal documents.  This is a completely complimentary and confidential service.