While the world of physical assets is fairly clear-cut thanks to wills and legal procedures, digital asset management is a little more confusing. Most online companies are happy to close an account after death, but don’t want to get bogged down with the confusion involved in account succession. You can imagine how difficult it would be to ensure requests were real! But, not to worry. Entrustet gives us a way to get things under control from one single control point.
Managing Online Accounts After Death
If you think your online accounts aren’t assets, think again. What will happen to your domains? Where’s that Adsense money going? What about your PayPal account? What about your blog? How will your family update things to ensure your work now benefits them? Do you have lots of photos in Flickr? The half-finished novel backed up in Dropbox? How will your family have access to these?
Now, consider your options here. If you want to give someone access to an account after your death, how will you do it? Give them the password now? Write the password into your will (and update your will every time you change your password)? Keep a secret list with that password on it? None of these options are ideal — they all post a current security threat and leave the plan vulnerable if you forget to update the password with them in time.
Even if you expect your account will be deleted your family may step in and demand access, such as with Justin Ellsworth’s Yahoo account.
It’s one thing to know what should happen to your online accounts after death. It’s another to have some degree of control.
Get Your Free Entrustet Account
Sign-up with Entrustet is free, meaning you can set things in motion without paying a cent. After verification, you can immediately begin to add your accounts to Entrustet, nominating what should occur with them after your death.
Note that Entrustet cannot control accounts which are covered by a regular will, such as bank accounts.
Up to 2GB of documents may also be added to Entrustet thanks to a partnership with Mozy.
Who Looks After Your Entrustet Account?
You may choose a digital executor for your estate. This person will receive an email immediately notifying them of their role.
You may add unlimited heirs to Entrustet and designate your accounts to them as you wish.
If you already have a lawyer looking after your affairs, you may add their details to Entrustet, ensuring they can easily work together when the time comes. You should also ensure your lawyer knows about your plans with Entrustet and your digital executor.
If you don’t yet have a legal will, Entrustet can point you in the direction of some who understand digital estates. There’s also plenty of places online where you can ask legal questions for free and get an understanding of what you need to do.
What Happens Then?
The Entrustet digital asset management service supplements your regular will. Your lawyer will look after your regular assets, while your digital executor will look after your digital estate.
After you die, your executor notifies Entrustet and supplies a death certificate as proof. They then go about transferring your accounts to the heirs as nominated.
Alternatives To Entrustet
There are several alternatives to Entrustet which all offer a similar service. No doubt as more people consider their digital assets worth protecting even more new services will spring up in competition. Entrustet is still one of the very best services in my eyes and very little could be done to improve on it from here. I would love to see them add oAuth and other automatic login services to their system, as it would save users from accidentally forgetting to update their passwords.
You may also be interested in reading about some other online services which help you to prepare for death.
What do you think of Entrustet? Will you use it to protect your digital assets? Why or why not? If not, what will you use to ensure that your digital assets are properly passed on after you pass on? Let us know in the comments!