Chris Windley, Digital Marketing Expert and Managing Partner at the Silicon Crossroads Technopolis in Lichfield, Staffordshire spoke to the Daily Mail about Digital Death and why he is waiting for the official launch of My Digital Executor and NOT death !!
The impact of a Digital Death is entirely dependent on how involved someone is in the digital world and what the consequences of disconnection or interruption to their system would be. There are people who have maybe, a Linkedin or a Facebook account and use the Internet for browsing and for email. There are 2 or 3 passwords and usernames involved in that.
Now imagine that you were Stuart Ross ( see below ) , Founder of the Six Figure Mentors and someone who earns $100’s of thousands a month through the Internet
using various tools such as web and blogsites, social media sites, Google pay per Click, Facebook adverts, emailing lists, autoresponders etc etc etc. I don’t know how many usernames and passwords he has but it’s a lot !! I would say that nobody would understand how Stuart made his money except that he has been discussing and sharing his techniques with his ” inner circle ” and with Six Figure Mentor members so there are actually quite a few people now who understand what he is doing. Previously only Stuart’s mentors would have understood what he is doing – his parents and brothers and sisters certainly don’t !!
There is a sort of no-man’s land between the casual user and a ” proper ” Internet based business. People that run eBay shops or small ecommerce sites; bloggers with lots of followers and advertising revenues being generated from their sites. It is highly unlikely that anyone un other than them understand how the system works.
Typically the sites that they use eBay, Facebook, PayPal, Google etc etc are based in the U.S. and they have their own views on what happens when someone dies.
When a Facebook user dies anyone ( yes anyone !! ) can shut down the account given that they have proof of death. So, imagine this – Stuart
( God forbid ) dies and the news gets around. One of his competitors hears about this, knows that a lot of Stuart’s income is dependent on Facebook ( adverts ) , provides proof of death to Facebook and gets the account shut down. Probably nobody ( the relatives or the lawyers involved ) has any conception that this is an important part of the income generating system.
What redress does the estate have against the person who shut it down or Facebook ?? None !!
Graham Ross ( below ), Founder of My Digital Executor, decided that this was just unacceptable.
Here’s what Graham says on his website http://www.mydigitalexecutor.co.uk/ ……
Have you ever worried about what would happen to your email, tweets, blogs, domains, affiliate sales accounts, created/collected music, photographs, websites, designs, virtual world items, online account balances, online revenue streams and even operational online businesses when you log off for that final time? Probably be lost forever or, worse, be taken over by those unauthorised by you, putting your money, data and creative property at risk. Read articles on the problem from The New York Times and The Guardian.
Let us put your mind at rest
Our straight forward and simple protocol ensures that your accounts and assets will be handled fully in accordance with your wishes. We provide a form on which you set out, and update, your wishes. We then refer you to a solicitor who will help you ensure those wishes are legally honoured (you are not committed to any further costs beyond your membership of this service).
Writing an informal note of your wishes has no effect
You may think that informally appointing someone to take over a digital asset on your death is the answer but it will have no legal effect. Equally of no legal effect are services that store your passwords and last wishes like Entrustet.com and LegacyLocker.com. Legacy Locker specifically warns by email those you seek to appoint that ‘it is not legally binding’ because ‘ownership of any electronic rights related to the internet such as intellectual property, domain names, or marketing affiliation agreements, cannot be granted or transferred through Legacy Locker’. This is because the law dictates who is entitled to your assets, including your digitalassets, and the only way to impose your wish above the law is through a Will, or Codicil to a Will. A friend who acts, albeit innocently, on your informal wishes can be sued by the next of kin entitled to your estate. We ensure you are able to make such wishes binding and effective after you pass away.
We protect your passwords but do not hold them
Whilst we ensure your estate has lawful and effective access to your online accounts after your death, we do not hold your passwords.
What if I just ignore the problem
If you want to learn about the problems with what would happen on your death with some of the more popular internet services, then see our page called ‘How Websites Deal With Your Death’.
For more information call Graham on:
MD Executor Ltd
A company registered in England under registration number 08226375
47 Rodney St
Telephone: 0845 0573719
Fax: 0870 130 3337