Plenty of the funeral homes we work with host community outreach programs that include seminars and publications on everything from health and wellness topics to advice on memorial service prearrangement. And while preplanning is hugely important from both a financial and an emotional perspective, many of these presentations leave out a key consideration for today’s modern families.
Today, we all leave huge digital footprints as we use the web for both business and pleasure. We open email accounts, create passwords to log in to our financial accounts, and develop rich social connections on networks like Facebook and Instagram. In the event of a death, access to this information can become a major concern for the friends and relatives of the deceased, who may need the data contained within these accounts to carry out end-of-life wishes.
The result is a field called “digital legacy management,” which seeks to facilitate the transfer of web account details to entrusted estate managers following a death. Currently, the best digital legacy management programs are all third-party tools, as most of today’s major media sites make the delegation of account details a huge hassle.
Below are three of the best options on the market to consider. Look at them and consider including recommendations to your favorite tools in your future preplanning seminars or publications!
Tool #1 — MyWonderfulLife
MyWonderfulLife is geared more toward end-of-life planning. According to the company’s website, these are some of the program’s features:
- Leave letters to loved ones.
- Document the music and writings you love.
- Leave your favorite memories and anything else you’d like to share.
- Write your own obituary.
- Upload some of your favorite photos that can be used at your service.
Pricing: When first using this program, users get a free 30-day trial. Then, they can choose between two payment plans: $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year. Users also can cancel any of these subscriptions at any time.
Tool #2 – SecureSafe
SecureSafe combines the concept of digital legacy management with the security of Swiss data centers to provide users with a full suite of data inheritance tools.
A few of the different features you’ll find with this program include:
- Secure password management, which allows you to store passwords, PINs, credit card numbers, and online banking credentials.
- Online file storage, which creates a single location to store important contracts, diplomas, account statements, insurance policies, and more.
- Secure mobile apps that allow you to access your stored data from anywhere.
- Data inheritance tools, which give you an automatic, secure, and confidential way to transfer your personal information to your relatives, in the event of your death.
Pricing: SecureSafe offers a limited free version, as well as “Pro,” “Silver,” and “Gold” plans ranging from $1.50 per month to $12.00 per month.
Tool #3 — Everplans
Everplans is a unique combination of end-of-life planning and secure file storage. It goes beyond financial records and helps users organize all the important information their loved ones would need to know if something happened to them. According to their website, this can be anything from a phone’s passcode to how to work a family’s complicated TV remote. Some other notable features of the program include:
- Being able to easily share your plans with your family, friends, and chosen advisors.
- Expert guidance throughout the process of creating your plans.
- Secure storage for your healthcare-related documents, wills, and other information.
Pricing: To see if this program is a good fit, they give all their new users a free 60-day trial. Then, it’s $75 per year.
Talking to Families About Digital Accounts
In addition to providing information on different digital legacy management programs, it’s a good idea to encourage seminar guests and preplanning clients to think about how they want certain accounts handled after their deaths.
As an example, Facebook’s memorialization options have some serious disadvantages. If a Facebook profile is left active, other Facebook users can continue to leave messages on the deceased’s wall, and these messages may not always be nice. Active profiles also may continue to appear in lists of suggested friends and upcoming birthdays, which may be disconcerting to users who knew the deceased in life.
On the other hand, converting the Facebook profile into a memorial page has several limitations. These can include not being able to share memories on the deceased’s wall depending on the privacy settings and not being able to make any changes to the memorialized account if the deceased didn’t name a legacy contact.
Tribute Walls — Permanent Online Memorials
A better alternative to present to your families is an online memorial wall that’s hosted on your website — like Tribute Walls on Frazer-powered websites. Tribute Walls allow friends and family members to come together to share memories, light digital candles, post pictures or videos, and more — in a loving, supportive environment. The program’s profanity filter and automatic photo/video review means that nothing inappropriate will be shared. Plus, the fact that the Tribute Walls will never be deleted creates a long-lasting, meaningful tribute that loved ones can come back to again and again.