Thursday, November 25, 2010

Digital will:....Have you ever thought of your internet accounts after your death?

This post is taken from an email that I received today... To my thinking digital will can be a solution to today's internet world,and our internet accounts and information for our nominee.So, I am posting this inorder to create more awareness about it. In India, this is still a big question about digital will...Please read on about it.

Other than the physical existence, we all have a digital self of our own today. And in this digital life, we also have our assets in digital formats. What are these 'soft' assets then? Well, email accounts, social networking accounts, internet banking accounts and data stored on PCs are some of those. Have you ever thought about what will happen to these digital assets after you die? Probably it's time that you ought to. And a digital will is the best way out.
A digital will, also called an 'Internet will', is the document that legally bequeaths a person's digital assets to his heirs. It contains a list of websites each with user names and passwords, along with other information needed to access the site. The will-maker can ask someone to email his friends and colleagues to report his death. He might give a son access to his online bank account or may give a daughter rights to his online savings or pension. Compared to a paper document, a digital will is safer, and can easily be kept up-to-date.
In order to create a digital will, first a digital inventory needs to be created. A digital inventory is nothing but an index of a person's 'soft' assets. Then it is the authentication of the will-makers digital signature that comes next. After that, within a day or two, the digital will can be made ready, according to a cyber law specialist.
A Delhi businessman opted for a digital will in April this year for the first time in India. The digital will allows his successors to access private mails in his inbox and other digital archives including personal photos, albums, documents, correspondence and video clips after his death.
Although the concept of a digital will still to get momentum in India, countries like U.S. are working on ideas where a person's digital information can be accessed by his kin after his death. A San Francisco-based company allows people to upload and store all personal passwords and documents which are then emailed to pre-chosen contacts after their death.
There are very few internet organizations that have developed a policy for dealing with deceased customers. Popular social networking site Facebook's policy states the company will never release login information to anyone other than the account holder, even after death. A few years back, it instituted a policy regarding how to handle the profiles of deceased individuals. There are two options that a dead person's family members could choose - Facebook will delete an account permanently upon the family's request or converting the account into a memorial profile.

While Yahoo ceases accounts of dead account holders, Google, that runs Gmail (email), Orkut (social networking) and Picasa (online photo-sharing), gives access to his kin under certain conditions. It needs full name and contact information of the person, a verifiable email address, the full header and content of an email he has received from the dead person's account, a copy of the death certificate and a copy of the document that gives the person authority over the email account. It may be a long process, but can be avoided by creating a digital will.

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