View Full Version : Digital Will

21st May 2007, 23:27
I expect most of you haven't even thought about doing a normal written Will yet. Have you got one yet?

But have you thought about a digital will?

This was a subject raised in a magazine article I read this month and it got me thinking that I should really do a digital will of my own just in case the worst happened.

What is a digital will? Think of your online life. You probably have email accounts, webmail accounts, ebay and paypal accounts, maybe some other accounts for websites or forums you belong to. If you were to die what would happen to them all? And how would your family and friends be able to access them? Or do they even know about them?

The worst has to be email and Paypal. If you have some money in a Paypal account you need to know the login details to access the account, and also to transfer this money into your normal bank account. If you died without leaving the login details how would your family gain access to the account to retrieve the money you have left in there?

Equally if you have a web email account such as Hotmail does your family know the email address? and the password? Some of your friends email addresses to contact them might only be stored in that account.

And your home email accounts. Again you may have contact lists setup in your email application for some of your friends and these might be the only current list of email addresses and phone numbers you have for some of them. Does your family have access to the computer they are on?

Equally, what about any online accounts or content you have? or subscriptons to sites or services? If you died these would need to be cancelled or transferred to another person. Once you are dead any subscriptions would still be charged to your credit cards or direct debited from your account.

And finally websites and hosting accounts. For me this included hosting accounts that withdraw direct debits each month to pay for the hosting. These servers contain personal intellectual property you have created and own. What happens to it when you die? Who gets it? Do your family even know about these accounts and how they are setup and accessed? What they do and what they cost?

In addition there are domain names. More and more people own domain names. I own quite a few myself, registered for at least the next two years. Who owns those when I die? What happens to them?

I expect the answer to most of this is NO. Our online lives are quite fragmented and scattered across the world. If I were to die tomorrow my family wouldn't have a clue where to begin trying to find the information about my online life. The accounts, the website addresses to access them or what they contain.

I am therefore going to be creating a written document containing details of this online part of my life so that in the event of any unfortunate event my family and friends will know what is registered and owned by me online and they will be able to gain access to it and retrieve the data. And I think it is a good idea if we all do this before it is too late.

And don't worry. If anything were to happen to me I will be including details of administrator access to classicamiga and this forum that will be sent to key staff members so they can take over ownership and continue the site if they so wished.

22nd May 2007, 05:45
Interesting thought there Harrison....I shotgun the business idea. You will of course get royalties. But seriously, that is quite a dilemma you have raised there, hadn't even thought about that one.

Demon Cleaner
22nd May 2007, 12:45
Yeah, interesting. The only monthly fees I have are Newzbin and Easynews (and recently Classicamiga). All other accounts or subscriptions could easily be deleted, no one would really care about. I don't have money on my PayPal account, and as for eMail adresses or free subscriptions, who cares about these when I'm dead, they don't have to be transferred, they can just be cancelled right away.

Perhaps I should introduce my parents into torrents, so that they can still update my ROM collections when I'm dead, I still have the ratio at PD and UG :lol:

22nd May 2007, 13:17
:lol: That is sheer dedication to collecting way beyond the norm!

What about all the consoles you have collected over the years? Would your relatives know how much they were worth? Or would they just bin them?! :o

I also thought about my Star Wars and vintage original games collections. My family wouldn't have a clue what any of it was worth, or even that some of the stuff was actually rare and worth quite a lot, especially some of the PSX RPGs I have.

Demon Cleaner
22nd May 2007, 13:24
I would split up my goods, CDs to one friend, console & computer collection to another, DVDs to another...

But as you said, I would have to write down who will get what, otherwise my parents would surely give it to the wrong people (perhaps not wrong, but f.ex. what does a car freak do with a console collection?), or just bin it.

23rd May 2007, 02:02
If someone binned my cds...I would come back and get them!

23rd May 2007, 02:09
I can see the film now. "The Australian CD Massacre"

23rd May 2007, 07:09
Lol! Nice....

Stephen Coates
23rd May 2007, 08:18
Very good points you made there harrison.

Currently, I don't have much on the internet that would really matter.

I do have a domain name which will expire in 2009. I think the money for that just comes from my Solo card, so should be easy for other people to find out about.

Things like PayPal, I rarely have money in my paypal acount except wen I have sold someting, as I just use my Solo card to pay for stuff.

But things like the value of old computers can be slightly worrying. I think my parents would know that my computers have some value otherwise I wouldn;t have got them, but how much they think they are worth, I have no idea.

I've no idea what the situation would be like in a few years time though as then I am more likely to have more money and more computers and more subscriptions.

Although I have no intention of dieing in the near future so I should be OK.

Another thing I though about, is if you run your own server. If you died and your server was still running at your house, what would happen to it? I might have important stuff on it like a website or emails.

23rd May 2007, 13:11
That is actually a point I hadn't raised, servers or computers running locally off of your own broadband connection, or just the whole computer and technology/entertainment setup you have.

I'm not sure anyone in my family would understand what is running on my local server as none of them have experience of Apache servers, database servers or p2p networks, which are all running 24/7 on my local server. They would probably just switch the PC off! My girlfriend or uncle might be able to eventually figure it all out I suppose, but would they bother?

But another thing I equally didn't mention was local and remote files. We all collect and store a lot of files on our computers, and many of us also store a lot of files remotely online. Would anyone know what they all were if you died? Would they care? And if they sold your computers after your death who would end up with all your files? Would your relations format the HDs? I doubt it! Your email, artwork, music files, videos, digital camera pictures, downloads... everything could end up in someone else's hands!

And my actual setup is quite complex with 3 PCs connected via a wired LAN, a few consoles also connected to the LAN and some more PCs and laptops connected via wireless networking. In addition this is also all connected up to audio equipment, DVD players, and TVs. Quite a jumble of connected equipment. And as with any setup only the person who set it up actually understands where everything is connected to.

Finally something else I didn't mention is modified hardware. Some of us have modified consoles. Would anyone realise this after you die? Or even know what modified hardware is? A modded console is always worth more second hand (if you can find a buyer), but equally you have to legally tread carefully with such things.

Quite a complex mess. 50 years ago before technology was really commonplace in the home no one had this complexity to think about.