Death and Digital Assets

If I kick up my heels tomorrow on 285, what happens to all my emails, online accounts, documents, pictures, blog, website and all the other goodies on my computer or in the clouds?

Who knows all that I have and where it is stored? Who knows my passwords to open these accounts?

If I don’t make plans for the disposition of my digital assets, my sons will have to deal with time-consuming and expensive searches to find them – if indeed they even know what to look for.

Integras Partners (http://www.integraspartners.com/) has given some guidelines. Domain names, once registered, become my personal property and my websites and blog content are mine. These would be transferable to my heirs (through my will). But, email accounts, Facebook, twitter, eBay or PayPal may not be classified as my property as I am merely given a license when I agree to terms of service. Some sites, such as YouTube will allow people with legal power of attorney to access my accounts. Other sites such as Facebook, will put my accounts into a “memorial state.” Many sites will terminate and permanently delete my accounts upon notification of my death. Integras Partners strongly suggests that I read and understand all terms of service and make any legal arrangements so that my heirs can access my accounts.

So what should I do now?

According to Integras Partners, I should consider including my cyber assets in my estate plan.

  1. Identify my cyber assets.
  2. Understand which assets are transferable and which are not.
  3. Inventory my cyber assets – note where they are located, how they are accessed, what I want to happen to them and who will be responsible for carrying out my wishes. The inventory should be referred to in my will but not included in the will as wills become public.
  4. Include specific bequests of valuable cyber assets and execute powers of attorney for those accounts that require it.

Sounds like a lot to think about. Not wanting to tempt fate, I’d better get started on it.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

It’s easier being the Organizer than the Client

Here is a picture of me making progress on my inbox. Laura Ray (lauraray@bellsouth.net) is great. She is so very patient. I learned a couple of neat tricks that really make me feel better about keeping up with emails that I am saving while getting them out of my inbox. I have doable homework. I have managed to drop about 150 emails out of my inbox. I was supposed to spend an hour on Monday working on my homework. It was 8:00 pm before I could even think about it due to a morning meeting and afternoon client. A half hour was all I could manage. But with some tips she gave me I did manage to drop over a 100 during that time. She also gave me good advice about my bookmarking. She followed up with me today and I had to call her back while in the car on the way to a client and report my minimal progress. Like many of my clients, I want it to be much better much faster. This has been a great experience for me in many ways. It puts me in the shoes of many of my clients and while I felt I was always sympathetic and understanding, now I really feel their pain. However, “Slow and steady wins the race”. I do want this done and I know that I can do it. It might take another session with Laura Ray though.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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Toxic Inbox

One of the sessions I attended at the NAPO conference was on “Detox Your Inbox”. I know I have a real problem with my inbox. I found that I was one of those people who use the inbox as a “to do” list. I realized that letting my inbox get in this shape is as bad as letting mail stack up on my table. For some reason I am very good about taking care of my mail each day- but my inbox! – not so much. Just imagine 495 pieces of mail on my table. I learned that my email usually falls into different areas like projects, appointments, contact information, communication, tasks, and archives. Just as I have my clients use action files for their mail I need to set up folders for my email. Just as my clients can be overwhelmed by their backlog of paperwork- I am overwhelmed by my backlog on my computer. So- what to do? I have asked for help from a Professional Organizer. Laura Ray (lauraray@bellsouth.net– 404-630-7212) is scheduled to come work with me. I know I will be able to maintain it once she helps me set it up. She will soothe my fears that I will not lose the information I need to keep. She will help me decide what I can let go. I will feel so much lighter after our session.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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