The COVID-19 outbreak has overhauled personal and professional lives for countless families across the globe. In many countries including India, where the nationwide lockdown has been extended, people are forced to spend time indoors and are therefore stuck at home throughout the day, juggling between their work from home
routine and looking after their children or even themselves. One way of looking at this situation is that there is no better time than now to work on developing a new passion or organizing their personal belongings. In other words one such area they could focus on is building their digital legacy.
In this era of a global pandemic, where one has no certainty over what might happen in the future, this lockdown serves as an opportune time for creating a digital legacy.
Speaking on the importance of creating a digital legacy. If we don’t start making decisions about our digital deaths, then someone else will be making them for us/deciding for us. So, it is wiser to pre-plan our death as well as our digital death legacy in order to maintain the emotional and financial fundamentals of an individual.
Our devices, without us even having to try, end up capturing so much vital information. We don’t think about the consequences for when we’re not here anymore.”
Digital legacy simply means an online compilation of an individual’s assets and belongings (whether online or offline). Almost every individual today is associated with the digital world through various means and has huge amount of digital data consisting of content in password protected devices, email accounts, passwords, financial
information, social media accounts, e-wallets, media subscriptions, OTT models, ecommerce websites and other highly confidential digital documents related to property, equity or personal finance. However, people often skip the fact that these digital accounts might be misused after their demise (whether natural or sudden). This may
create long-term problems for their family members since they might not be aware about their loved ones’ financial implications or personal efforts invested towards the digital medium while they were alive.
To avoid any issues in the future in case of non-availability of the person in context, managing digital legacy seems to be a wise option. Today, the lockdown serves as an opportune time to upload all details regarding digital assets including photos, videos, artwork and many other important pieces of information on the hard drive or a pen drive or cloud. Further, they should store the pen drive(s) and/or hard disk at a safe place so that their loved ones or family members may access it in case of an emergency. In uncertain times like the current pandemic (as experienced today due to COVID-19), having a digital legacy in place becomes very important for all of us. It might also be a wise decision to appoint or select a digital heir to whom the assets would be handed over, along with credentials such as the login and password details of the assets. An option for the youth especially is to use to Facebook’s legacy contact option which would help convert their Facebook page(s) in their memory if required. Another similar option is Google’s in active manager for Gmail accounts.
People who are not social media active or digitally active are suggested to scan all the documents which are related to property or financial matters and upload them on an online cloud or take a back-up on pen drives or a hard disk which will help secure this data for future generations.
Across the world, there have been a huge number of deaths that have occurred during this pandemic lockdown, and in the current framework of social distancing, it has been observed that more and more people are preferring online memorial sites to pay their respects to the deceased. Given the number of demises in India, similar options of online memorials can act as an alternative option where families can pay their last respects to their loved ones that have passed away, in case they are unable to attend their funerals for any reason.
The COVID-19 situation is an eye-opener for every individual to understand that it is important to make plans for our physical estate and the assets we own. Moreover, it is also important that we make plans for our digital estate and the digital assets we are creating, purchasing and treasuring.