By the end of this century, the number of dead people on the popular social media network, Facebook, is expected to outnumber living members – turning it into the world’s biggest ‘virtual graveyard’.
Due to the strong interest in social media and our ‘online life’, the trend of people looking to leave farewell messages to their loved ones via various social networks or avatars is becoming more common. Each social network has different rules regarding what happens to your account when you die but beyond each of these, there are other ways to manage your digital assets – enabling you to communicate with your family and friends online after you’ve died. ‘Dead Social’, enables its users to schedule posts after they have passed away. Users are able to choose text or video posts and assign a digital executor to send the message once they have died. It already has 11,000 users signed up and is expected to grow following a recent revamp.
Some networks are looking to create different ways for us to live on virtually after we’ve died. ‘Eternime’ collects your thoughts, stories and memories and creates an avatar that looks and speaks in your manner. Before you die, you begin speaking to the avatar so that they learn about you and your personality.
Digital legacies can cause issues linked to privacy rules and data protection regulations, highlighting the question of who ‘owns’ your virtual life. Online assets are being viewed as an increasingly important subject and many people are now including clauses about them in their Wills. It is not clear what happens to the data that has been collected after you have passed on, and could potential cause upset to family members. It is important to discuss your wishes regarding your online accounts with your executor so that your final wishes are carried out, regardless of your intentions.
If you want to discuss adding your wishes to your Will, please get in touch.