There is an interesting article in the New York Times entitled "Cyberspace When You're Dead" that addresses the fact that estate law has only begun to consider the topic of what happens to our digital afterlives.
Considering that only about a third of Americans even have a will, how many people write down all the passwords and screen names for digital photograph servers like Flickr, email, social networks and leave them in a place where their family or heirs could find them? Facebook now has an option that allows a profile to be switched to "Memorial" mode when an individual dies.
For some family-owned businesses that rely on the Internet for sales and marketing, the digital rights and passwords may be very important for running a business. For many of our older clients, this has not been much of an issue but this is something for each person to consider.
Years ago, you could find a person's address book and contact their friends and family to tell them of their passing. Now much of that information is kept in Outlook Contacts or on an iPhone. Another thought is that some people are creating online memorials with photographs or video and allow friends and family to share memories. This is obviously a personal preference but is something that can be addressed at the planning stage.
Posted by Henry (Hank) J. Moravec, III, a partner at Moravec, Varga & Mooney. For a complimentary 30 minute consultation (telephonic or in person), you can e-mail Hank Moravec at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (626) 793-3210 or (818) 769-4221.