Digital Decluttering: The Afterlife for Your Digital Assets

 In Digital Clutter, Physical Clutter, Podcast: Clearing the Clutter Inside & Out

Digital Decluttering for Peace of Mind

What happens to your digital world once you have died? What happens if you are the only one who has passwords for your financial files? How can you create a plan so loved ones aren’t trying to figure out what to do and where to find stuff? Learn digital decluttering for the afterlife! Emily Parks of Organize for Success joins us.

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About Clearing the Clutter Inside & Out

Clutter is stuck stagnant energy and can prevent you from creating the life you choose, desire and deserve. We discuss clutter in all its forms: spiritual, emotional, mental & physical and provide tips for clutter free living and how to organize your life. We’re thinking outside the box on areas where people might not realize where clutter is blocking them. When we remove clutter from our lives we can discover our passions, lead the extraordinary lives we are all meant to live and share our gifts with the world.


Transcript Digital Decluttering

Producer 0:14
Welcome to clearing the clutter inside and out with Julie Coraccio. Every Tuesday at 1pm Julie interviews experts on all areas of clutter, physical, mental, spiritual and emotional, a cluttered coach and professional organizer. Julie also offers tips to help you get clutter free for a more joyful and fulfilling life.

Julie Coraccio 0:40
Thanks to our sponsor asst Angel Social Media Solutions for small and medium sized businesses, assistant Angel provides social media management and virtual assistant training. For more information please visit assistant Angel calm. So today we’re gonna be talking about our digital afterlife and I’m sure a lot of you out there like You know what, I have enough to worry about managing clutter when I’m alive. Why do I have to worry about it when I’m dead? And I’m with you, but think about it. We are so connected. I’m sure most of you have a bank account or retirement account that’s only done digitally. I have an account with it used to be a thing, and they only have a few brick and mortar building. So what would happen if I were to die? What would my husband be able to do? There are also issues I want to know what today’s guest says about my great YouTube channel and all these wonderful interviews I’m doing, she’s saying get rid of them, or can they live on after I do? We’re going to talk about that and much, much more today. And I’d like Emily parks founded organized for success in 2007 and specializes in productivity and technology for small business for both PC and Mac. She utilizes technology in business organization systems to help clients increase efficiency and output by creating customized plans to incorporate into daily operations. She provides one on one and team consulting person or via Skype, Google plus hangouts and Hulu, customize workshops and trainings, workflow processes and how to organize your workspace.

Emily Parks 2:11
Hey, Julie, thank you for having me today.

Julie Coraccio 2:13
I would also add your bio You are my technology go to and when I need to get for my husband, you are the woman that I call.

Emily Parks 2:21
Thank you very much.

Julie Coraccio 2:23
All right, so let’s get started. Can we have lots of good stuff today? Why don’t we need to be concerned about our internet and social media life after we die? Can you share some legal legalities that you found?

Emily Parks 2:34
Absolutely. In today’s society, both businesses and individuals have a digital footprint that scattered widely across the internet. It includes emails, online banking, iTunes, music, libraries, social media profiles, web based photo albums, online file repositories, blogs, and more goes on and on and on and on. Well, for physical items in our estates. It’s very clear cut About how things are handled when we die, we have a will we have an x cuter for how that is handled. But for our digital assets, it’s a much more legal gray zone right now. The US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 makes it unlawful to, quote, intentionally access a computer without authorization, and then obtain information from that access. However, on July 16 of this year, the uniform fiduciary access to digital assets act was approved nationally in the United States. And it’s designed to let relatives have what access the deceased would want them to have. And that’s what’s important about this. It’s the access that the deceased would want those relatives, loved ones friends, whatever to have, as websites want to honor their privacy agreements that they are creating with users when we create our accounts. The legal system has also made clear its desire to respect the wishes. Technology users, which is why it’s imperative for all of us to convey what might be our wishes related to our digital assets.

Julie Coraccio 4:08
So how do we do that? How do we share our personal wishes activating an online guestbook or turning a social media page into a virtual Memorial? And so researching this, I mean, I love that idea, but I wouldn’t have thought of that.

Emily Parks 4:21
Well, I’m certainly not a lawyer and I do not have legal expertise. But I do see the importance of addressing my digital afterlife and have been doing extensive research and have talked to some lawyers about this. As such, first, I recommend creating a digital estate plan, just like you would create a will for your physical items. This digital estate plan details your wishes about what you want done with your digital assets. It would also appoint a digital execute, because that’s the person that’s your point person with all of these different websites, with your email providers with all of these entities that to actually execute what you put in your digital estate plan. Can I ask a question about? Absolutely.

Julie Coraccio 5:06
So do you mean by someone and execute? Or do you mean they have to be attorney or for instance, if you have a trustee safer? Well, it could be a friend that you trust that’s organized and won’t lose it?

Emily Parks 5:16
Yes. It would be someone that you trust that won’t flake out on you or whatever, that can carry out what your wishes are with your digital asset. Okay. Thank you, is that that was an excellent question because it’s just like creating goodwill in the traditional sense, but it’s focused on your digital afterlife. In addition, many estate planning lawyers are recommending that you put all of the details of your online account in what they call a veil. It’s a virtual asset instruction letter. It’s a legal document, and it is created by the lawyer but it would be stored in both a digital and a printed hard copy form. Within a fireproof home safe, I typically say and I’ve heard from the lawyers the fireproof home safe, because if you put it in a safety deposit box, there’s a delay in when your survivors are able to access that. Whereas if it’s in a fireproof home safe, they can get to it immediately upon your death and be able to start carrying out what your wishes were. The key to the veil or virtual asset instruction letter is that you do need to make your your digital ex cuter, aware of its location and provide them with the passcode to get into your space. Beyond

Julie Coraccio 6:38
Oh, yes, question. Sorry, your this is all new to me. And so I’m very curious, is the veil something that we can easily find online? Or is that, you know, they have those lawyer sites for $69 create your own Well, is it? Is it that type of document or is it something that you can just find or do you have to go to an attorney to have something official because probably it varies, I would think maybe a little bit state by state in the US,

Emily Parks 7:02
it definitely vary state by state. The digital afterlife is such a rapidly evolving world of legal right now that I would highly recommend that you go to a local lawyer to ask about this, primarily because there’s only seven states right now that truly have in state law that are related to your digital assets and your afterlife. But your lawyers will know how these national acts are being carried out within your state, and what’s happening on a day to day in case by case basis. So I’m not aware of any like templates online or anything. I’ve been talking to lawyers themselves and and I would recommend that you go with your local lawyer for that. Thank you. You’re very welcome. And speaking of lawyers, I do want to address your power of attorney because it’s important to to tweak or update your power of attorney document so it includes language Specifically allowing your designated air to access your emails, your electronic data if you’re ever incapacitated, so you may not be be dead, but you may be in a coma, or something like that. And so all the walls are are your data being addressed by legal entities at that point in time is just as important as we in your afterlife. That point and it is state by state. So it there there’s quite a variety between different states. So within the will that you already have, hopefully, or are creating for your physical asset, you would want to make sure that your digital experience is included as someone that is able to get a copy of your death certificate, or else they won’t be able to carry out what you were your wishes for all of your digital assets on.

Julie Coraccio 8:52
All right, excellent. Now I’m really curious about transferring online passwords, especially for financial information because I’m They’re really strict about that. I know when my great uncle died in a small town in North Carolina, so they knew at the bank it but there was a little bit of a mix up when my great aunt and so when you go to access your safety deposit at the bank, that’s you know, they have strict rules for that. So how do we transfer the online passwords?

Emily Parks 9:21
So accessing someone, someone else’s account even after that person’s dead is still a bit murky from a legal standpoint. But it’s definitely an important item to address, particularly as so many of us are doing online bill paying until we don’t get any of our bills in the mail anymore. We’re just getting emails that address them. So you want to make sure that the DCS bills get addressed. So you have to be able to access their email. So there’s still a lot of people that are maintaining their list of passwords in a paper book or printed list and while this may suffice On a personal level, it can be difficult to maintain. And it’s certainly challenging to share with that digital x here. So instead, I recommend using a password manager to generate, say, an auto fill your passwords, this will make life so much easier for your heirs because then they have one go to place for all of your passwords and account information. And in fact, a lot of these online password managers, they come with apps that include a data vault. So not only can you have all your password information in the Password Manager, but you can have some key documents within it and data that would need to be accessed very quickly. Right examples of Password Manager options are LastPass flash ID, one password and roboform although there are tons of other options that exist, alternatively, oh, go right ahead. Yes.

Julie Coraccio 10:56
Can you just explain for people who might not know like what is LastPass and what does one password mean? What do you mean by that?

Emily Parks 11:03
Okay, so these, you can go to their websites to create your account within them. And then once you’ve created your account, you would enter each of the websites on which you log into, as well as your associated username and password. However, they can also auto create a password for you. So that inherently as human beings, a lot of times when we create a password, it has some sort of connection to us. However, if you allow your password manager to generate that password for you, then it’s going to inevitably make sure that it’s not connected to you. It also have capital letters, lowercase letters, symbols and numbers all mixed into it, so it’s a lot harder for Kaffirs and do know gooders to access and break into. With that in mind, the password manager is something that you can install onto your internet browser as well. Is any of your mobile devices, so that each time you’re going to log into one of these secure sites, all you have to remember is the password for your password manager, you no longer have to remember all those lists and lists of passwords for each of those individual sites. Because your password manager, if remembering that to the benefit to your heirs is that they only have to remember that one password for your password manager, which they can then log into from anywhere on the internet to test more streamlined approach to it. However, I know there are some people that are concerned about cloud based technology. If you’re uncomfortable with the cloud based technology aspect of a password manager, you could utilize a password protected memory stick a flash drive, which you could put in that same fireproof safe that we mentioned before.

Julie Coraccio 12:50
Outstanding now I’m sorry, I interrupted you. Were you able to finish your thoughts to the question?

Emily Parks 12:54
Yes. I think the big thing for people is options of how to conduct That information to their digital computer and each of these options provides them safety, stability and some flexibility.

Julie Coraccio 13:10
Excellent. So what about social media accounts? And how do we delete those?

Emily Parks 13:16
Well, the approach to different social media platforms is going to vary depending on your desires, as well as what each site offers. This has become quite the hotbed for legal activity. For example, Facebook actually altered its digital afterlife policy earlier this year. And their policy now is to turn a deceased person’s page into Memorial mode. So they make it publicly available for people to post memorials and things like that. But shutting down a deceased person’s Facebook page actually requires the user’s birth certificate, death certificate and proof that the person that is Submitting the request is actually the lawful rep representative of that dead, or the deceased user. So it’s not, it’s not an easy process by any stretch of the imagination. On the other hand, Google actually offers what they call Google inactive account manager. And that allows you to go into your Google account within your settings, and choose a trusted contact. So I’m seeing probably your digit here would be that person. But whoever this person is, this is who will be notified by phone or email. When your account has been inactive for a specified length of time. you designate that within your Google account, and whoever you designate as your specific person in your Google inactive account manager, they would then be able to get access to all of your Google accounts. So your google plus your Gmail, your YouTube, your Google Photos, all of the different tools that are under your Google Platform would be passed along through that Google and active account feature.

Julie Coraccio 15:08
Now, do you know if that gives you an option to have more than one person, because I don’t know just the way my personality is like, hopefully I will live a long life. So I will pick someone 50 years younger than me to deal with this. But you just never know what happens. And I don’t know. Do you know about that?

Emily Parks 15:25
My understanding, and I’m not an expert on that particular aspect of it. But my understanding is that if it is one person at any particular time, but you can always change it over time. So if you didn’t designate now, it’s not who you won’t in 30 years, you have the ability to change that option.

Julie Coraccio 15:44

Emily Parks 15:45
But there are so many different platforms like Twitter offers a contact form to assist you in deactivating, but you can’t transfer your account like you can on Google and for Yahoo in America, Yahoo. accounts are non transferable but can be terminated after submitted a detailed request. Whereas for Yahoo in Japan, they’ve actually created a program called Yahoo ending where the the Yahoo user is able to log into their Yahoo account and set up for an email that they prepared to go out to 200 addresses at the time that they’re they’re updating Yahoo is deceased person, that email goes out to 200 email addresses, and Yahoo opens what they’re calling a memorial space bulletin board where people can come and leave condolences messages. It’s not as cut and dry as just deleting accounts. For someone who’s passed away. There’s options for creating moral pages, there’s option for emailing the downloads of your data from those accounts. The most important thing in this process is to make sure that you convey what your wishes are to to your heirs and your your decision. So that they can carry out what you prefer, you might want to consider one of the many online afterlife companies, they pledge to store and then distribute after death or designee digital assets. You can specify your beneficiary, it’s just like kind of creating an insurance policy that would then pass on to them. You’re creating your digital insurance package. And whoever your beneficiary is, would receive information from your accountants who passed away their asset lock, serious legacy deaths, which are dead social. There’s one that just started recently it’s called interest it were some 20 something year olds have been focusing on this problem and created that if I die. org is one of the leaders in the the online programs for this or legacy locker, plan, departure and secure safe. Still, I think one of the most interesting Options thus far for this is a new startup that was founded by an intellectual property lawyer and a banker. It’s called perpetual. And if you sign up for perpetual you do it with either email address, your Facebook account or your Twitter account. Once you logged in to protect you, you’ll see all these different services that you can dictate what you want to happen with that. You get a list of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Dropbox, flicker, Instagram, GitHub, and you pick what you want to happen on the 23rd. So you could schedule a final wall post to appear on your Facebook profile, and help a pet you that when you pass away, you want all of your Facebook posts, your status update and your private messages to be sent to your selected someone, whoever that executor is. You can select your repositories on GitHub to be Public after you die and tell protect you to email a download of all your LinkedIn contacts to a colleague so that your company can continue working with those individuals. Most importantly, though, unlike all of the online after, like companies I mentioned before, Perpetua doesn’t ever ask users for their passwords. Instead, you log in with your email or your Facebook or your Twitter accounts. And you select what information is downloaded and sent to your designated individuals. It’s very unique and it’s amazing how rapidly This is evolving and new options are rising and just it’s it’s something that people are looking at with a much closer diagnosis than ever before.

Julie Coraccio 19:46
That will lead to new I mean, social media has created not only with your digital afterlife, but a complete set of laws like how you defame someone on social media. I mean, there was a case not too long ago, I read about how someone low rank them on on one of the like Yelp or a site like that, and they complain and sued them. And then they ended up countersuing. And they won. And I want to say it went to the Supreme Court or went really higher up, we are kind of in the wild, wild west with technology and everything that’s going on. So it is an area to explore, I think I would want to use maybe haunt some people afterwards and make sure set up some emails. So after I die, that they get those emails a great next subject to talk about, how do we terminate that? And how do we do that I personally am not going to terminate my Yahoo account because I’m very cranky with them. And I’m going to subscribe to 10 million different email lists so that they it just explodes with spam email. So that’s our server goes down because they make me cranky with all the changes they’ve made. How do we do it for real?

Emily Parks 20:50
Well, yes, it’s definitely good to think about your email accounts. And I like that you have a strategy in mind for using your your digital afterlife to the best Fit. Playing is making up for some of the pain and stress that you’ve experienced. Many individuals actually have their digital x here to monitor the incoming emails that come in for a while. Some IE they usually will put in their their plan that they leave for this individual exactly how long they want them to be monitored. You want to make sure there’s no outstanding issues or folks that need to be alerted as to what’s going on. At some point in time though a lot of people will switch to having an autoresponder go out from those email accounts so that way nobody ever actually has to check them. You can set it up so that emails received or deleted from the server after X number of days so it’s not like you’re worried about the email account becoming full, but your autoresponder will then allow people to do may not have heard from you, or will not aware of what had happened to know what’s going on. But there is always the option to delete the email account. If you use Gmail, your emails covered under that umbrella of the Google inactive account manager. If you use Yahoo for email that would be addressed in the detailed termination requests that I mentioned before. If you get your email from Time Warner Cable or whoever provides your internet coverage, by ending that associated account, you’ll automatically deactivate that email address. All right, excellent. Beyond that, it’s going to vary from email provider to email provider. So for example, My website is hosted through GoDaddy. So my email is with GoDaddy. So that would be included in my digital estate plan to address my GoDaddy account.

Julie Coraccio 22:52
Okay, wonderful. Now, this brings up my other point is my diabolical plan not going to be able to happen because what about unsubscribing From the databases, or is it no big deal? Or do they automatically unsubscribe you?

Emily Parks 23:05
Well, you are correct in that when you delete your email address or deactivate your email address, it’s going to remove you from your database, because when the companies send you email, they’ll bounce back to the company and then the company will take the steps to delete any bounce backs from their database. However, some people include unsubscribing in their digital estate plan, because they want to make sure that they don’t require companies to take that extra step of deleting emails from them stocks it either way you’re going to get removed. It’s on a case by case basis of which do you prefer if you if you have a very active digital assets here that wants to really be very thorough, then unsubscribing would help on that. But you’re going to get removed from this list. Eventually you Anyway, as long as your email account becomes deactivated,

Julie Coraccio 24:04
fantastic. Now what about identity theft? I mean, we have identity theft without digital and you see all these people like anonymous, just, you know are able to get into these databases. Is that something we need to worry about? What about the data clearing houses like Intel is spokeo and people finders? Oh, Julie,

Emily Parks 24:21
it is mind boggling for me. I am constantly amazed by how many thieves are focusing their energies on stealing the identities of those individuals who have passed away. It’s it’s quite sad, but it’s definitely something that would need to be addressed and your digital estate plan alerting the various credit reporting companies including Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion is important. They each have contact us areas on their website for starting this conversation, but they would definitely need to see a copy of the death certificate. further beyond the credit reporting companies, it can be helpful to consider those data house as you mentioned, all of them will need a copy of the death certificate. That’s why it’s important for your digital, it’s clear to have that documentation. And while your digital x Peter can call each of those intelius both, both out people finders, they would then have to fill out all the requested paperwork and be a very time consuming process. So I often recommend that just consider a program called delete me and delete me will actually go through all the legwork for you until your digital ex here doesn’t have to worry about all the paperwork, the phone calls and everything involved in that.

Julie Coraccio 25:39
All right, wow, I Gosh, I have a lot of homework to do after this interview. Oh, yeah, yeah. So what about Is there anything that you think is okay for us to keep alive? For instance, I love all my interviews, and hopefully they’re going to be in a bunch more places that besides YouTube, and so I think it’s wonderful information. I’d like to keep it What are your thoughts about that?

Emily Parks 26:01
I’m really glad you brought this topic up, Julie, because that actually is one of the areas that has made this a legal complexity, because the answer varies dramatically from person to person. And it depends heavily on what you feel exists in your digital portfolio that may carry some value. There was an example of there’s been several examples of bloggers or people that were active, actively contributing articles, ebooks, things like that, that they didn’t leave suggestions as to what to do with their content, their creative assets. They were all online so it’s not like there were printed books and things like that that can be dealt with. And so many followers find what those creative types are posting online to be a quite a bit about you and won’t that individuals to leave their blogs and whatnot. live online, but their families may have a different opinion and think this wasn’t, you know, this was just my brother or my sister or my whatever. They’re not an artist, you know, they had this full time job. This was just what they did on the side, too. They’re taking these boards down or they’re taking this content down. So it’s up to that creative person to leave the documentation of his or her wishes, so that those loved ones that survive can properly fulfill leaving what that deceased won’t left online. So I agree wholeheartedly. Your YouTube videos have great value, but you really need to convey to your heirs and through a digital estate plan exactly what you want to say not. websites are offering using users the option of opting into a memorial site upon death. But it’s important to denote those wishes in your digital estate plan. So your voice is the one that’s guiding those out. When you’re no longer alive, rather than people making assumptions, a popular blogger site or gaming avatar that has acquired like, significant status online or all these points can be worth real money. I mean, actually cash money. So it’s important to communicate what you want to happen to the digital the digital assets, so that their value can be maintained, and so that the followers are able to continue to view and read that content and comment on it. That was what there was a very famous blogger, that her family she had lots of followers, but her family didn’t view that as anything really important, because that was just a side gig that she did. They took them down and a lot of her followers are like, you know, we just wanted to continue that conversation with each other with her shared content, but she had passed away unexpectedly so her family didn’t know her wishes. Bottom line, the clear about what you want and communicate that effectively to others. I can’t stress the importance of that digital estate.

Julie Coraccio 29:09
Well, I will just put a link to this video I want to live on forever. Everything I want anything, don’t delete it and I want people to wear purple leopard print at my funeral that’s the other men can they don’t have to wear purple leopard print, I can come as is but the women need to wear purple or leopard print. Now Emily, do you have any final thoughts that you’d like to share on our digital afterlife?

Emily Parks 29:30
Yes, a couple of different things. The first is to stay aware because this is a constantly evolving situation. There. As I mentioned at the beginning, there are national laws and acts that are being adopted on a national level that will impact local changes. So staying in touch with whichever local lawyer you pick to help you with your digital estate plan. hugely important because that person is going to be able to track what’s going on and stay abreast of it. The United States government actually posted a blog post to tell people to create a social media will. So your digital estate plan takes that a step further. And instead of just focusing on your social media is all encompassing. I really encourage everyone to take time to do an audit of what are your digital assets. You know, it’s, we have these lists of passwords, but we don’t always think about our iTunes library, or our Picasa pictures or whatever might be in existence that are scattered around in our footprints are very scattered and very widespread right now. So making sure that we take that audit, keep a thorough list, and make sure to share that with others is important. I also encourage people to there’s a there’s a couple of really good websites. Evan Carroll and john Romano, have written a book called your digital afterlife. That has been a great resource for me. But their website, the digital beyond is doing a great job of keeping people abreast of what’s going on. With the uniform fiduciary access to digital assets act, as well as any laws that are changing on a national level. Your legal contacts on the local level can help with how that’s going to trickle down, but making sure that people are clear on what their digital assets are and what they want to do with them and then staying abreast of what the legal implications continue to evolve and change and become

Julie Coraccio 31:46
Emily tell people how they can find more information about you and kind of little more details about what exactly you do for people.

Emily Parks 31:54
So my company is organized for success, LLC. My website is organized For Success dot biz, and I’m actually going to be doing some elaboration on what we’ve talked about today next week on my blog, so say linked up with organized for success stuff business blog. And as a productivity consultant and office organizer, and a technology specialist, I partner with business professionals in order to help them get more done in less time. quickly find what they need when they need it, and tame their technology so that you are in charge of your technology, rather than your technology being in charge of you. How many times do we come into an overflowing email inbox that sends a screaming the opposite direction, I help you make sure that doesn’t happen. But technology is a big part of most people’s lives. We’re playing everything in between. And I want to make sure that it’s a tool in your toolbox rather than just another something you have to deal with.

Julie Coraccio 32:58
And it only took Emily probably Two or three years to get me in the digital age in some areas so there’s there’s hope for me there’s hope for everyone. So I’d like to again thank our sponsor assistant Angel, who offer Social Media Solutions for small medium sized businesses. Assistant Angel provides social media management and virtual assistant training for more information please visit assistant Angel calm and again I want to thank Emily parks from organized for success.

Emily Parks 33:24
Thank you Julie. This has been great.

Julie Coraccio 33:26
All right, everyone gotten clear some clutter and create the life that you deserve and choose by now.

Thanks again to our sponsor, assistant Angel Social Media Solutions for small and medium sized business assist an angel provides social media management and virtual assistant training. For more information please visit assistant

Producer 33:52
thanks for joining us on clearing the clutter inside and out. You can find out more about Julie Coraccio and her Services at reawaken your brilliance calm. We’ll see you here next Tuesday at 1pm. Remember, the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.

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