Living and working in this digital era, our social media accounts – from Facebook, Twitter, Flickr to the likes of Pinterest – are increasing not only in number but also in volume. Additionally, many of us have domain names registered and libraries of movies, digital music and e-Books that can be of significant value. And let's not forget about Bitcoin and other virtual currencies!
For the majority of us, these accounts and digital assets are likely to outlive us. And when we die, it is left up to family members and estate executors to sift through them all. Furthermore, even though they may have all the required passwords necessary for these accounts, many heirs will discover that they have no clear authority to access, or even to manage, the online accounts of their deceased loved ones.
With the value of individuals' digital assets globally measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars, planning for the protection of our digital assets has moved to centre stage.
It is essential that our online and social media accounts are included as part of the estate planning process. Failure to do so may not only deprive those we leave behind of fond memories and (possibly) a little nest egg, it could also leave us vulnerable to postmortem identity theft if fraudsters get to use our personal details to apply for credit facilities whilst our accounts remain unguarded.
Planned Departure resolves these issues.
We provide you with the ability not only to protect your digital assets, but also to clearly indicate who can access your online accounts and who should benefit from them.
Create piece of mind today by registering with us in one quick and easy process.
Early in 2012, 57-year old electrical engineer George W, the founder and Managing Director of a very successful private engineering company, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Even prior to the knowledge of his condition, he had always taken great care to ensure his estate was properly protected. He had a joint personal bank account with his wife and she was given power of attorney over the company's banking and financial facilities in the event of his death. For ease of access, security and the more efficient running of his business, he moved all his technical drawings and manuals to the cloud. An avid reader and lover of old movies, he had a substantial library of e-Books and a not insignificant number of film classics that were stored digitally.
In November 2013, he passed away. This very sad event for his family and colleagues was only compounded by the difficulties that ensued.
On his death, the bank froze access to the online banking facilities, even though his wife's name was on the personal account. She was denied access because the account had been set up by her husband using his registered username and password. The same applied to the company's bank accounts. The bank claimed that it had frozen online access to all accounts as a precautionary measure to avoid fraud.
For the family preparing to take over the continued running of the engineering business, a similar situation applied to accessing the founder's technical drawings and manuals. Neither his family nor work colleagues were able to have immediate access to important material stored on remote servers because the usernames and passwords were registered by the deceased. Furthermore, this intellectual property remained in probate until it could be decided who was to legally inherit it.
The family's ability to continue business operations was severely hampered. It took them many weeks to restore access to online banking facilities and the material stored in the cloud.
This case highlights the necessity for the digital assets that form part of the creator's estate to be taken into account during the estate planning process. In this way, they can be left to appropriate beneficiaries and protected to generate maximum financial return for future generations. This is one of the roles Planned Departure can undertake.
22-year old computer science graduate Scott H was riding home on his motorcycle when he was hit by a lorry and killed instantly. He was a bright student and had recently landed an excellent job with a top global services firm. He was also mad keen on outdoor activities, particularly football and dirt bike riding.
As with many young people, Scott was very active with his social media accounts. Unlike many others, however, having read about the necessity to safeguard all digital assets, he had left clear written instructions as to what was to be done with his accounts, particularly the photos he had stored on Flickr, in the event anything happened to him.
The youngest of four children, Scott's death was felt very hard by his family. Knowing of Scott's wishes with his social media accounts, his eldest sister Melanie was quick to act, ensuring her brother's online legacy was protected. The family may have lost Scott physically, but Melanie was adamant they were not about to lose his online memory. She memorialized Scott's Facebook account which meant that his friends could continue to post messages on his page, but that no one could log into his account.
What effect did this have on Scott's family? According to Melanie, it helped enormously in the healing process. "We are a close-knit family and I didn't know if my parents were ever going to recover from Scott's death," she said. "But his friends rallied round hugely, leaving messages and posting photos on his Facebook page. Some even sent him birthday greetings and included photos of the party they held in his honour. It was very comforting for the family, particularly Mum and Dad, to see these messages continually being left. Even today, two years after Scott's death, they are still in touch with many of Scott's friends."
This case highlights the fact that many digital assets cannot be measured simply by financial value. According to Yahoo, the company's policy is that, to ensure an account gets transferred at death, "users need to provide consent and their account information in their estate plans." Other social media organisations follow a similar ruling.
By protecting your digital legacy with Planned Departure, we aim to ensure your digital assets are protected and benefit the loved ones you leave behind.
Anand Ramdeo is a director and co-founder of Planned Departure. He has a Bachelor of Engineering degree from MBM Engineering College, Jodhpur, India, and Masters degree in Information Systems from Kingston University, London. Anand is an expert in the field of software testing, consulting widely with organisations such as IBM Rational, Amazon, BBC, Channel-4, BSkyB and Camelot. He has also been a guest speaker at many IT conferences across Asia, Europe and North America.
Before co-founding Planned Departure, Komal Joshi was an IT consultant working with clients such as Tesco, Trafigura, Man Investments, Channel-4 and IBM. Komal graduated from the University of Jodhpur with a Bachelor of Science degree and went on to complete her Masters in Computer Science. Moving to London where she now lives, she obtained her MBA from the London Business School.
Ashish is the Chief Distribution Officer at Planned Departure. His key responsibilities at PlannedD include growth, product, go to market and distribution strategy and implementation. Prior to this, Ashish has spent over a decade in financial services intermediation in Eastern India. His past ventures included insurance distribution, capital markets and commodities broking. He is a seasoned executive with vast expertise in strategy, business development, distribution, finance, audit and compliance. He is an experienced entrepreneur, establishing new business in multiple geographies with diverse cultures. Ashish holds a Bachelors degree from Calcutta University and has earned his MBA from London Business School.
An experienced strategy leader specialising in developing and delivering data-driven customer-centric programmes. Extensive fundraising and marketing experience, strong analysis and strategic planning skills, and a natural communicator.Experienced in leading change, integrating teams, developing organisational culture, and delivering results through rigorous strategic analysis. Exposure to both large, established organisations and rapid growth start-ups, and experience in the private, public and “third” sectors.Nick graduated from Oxford University, where he was President of the Oxford Union and has postgraduate qualifications from Cass Business School, as well as the Diploma from the Institute of Fundraising.He did his MBA from London Business School.
Saleem is serial entrepreneur. He has successfully founded and exited one of the high growth legal brand - Quality Solicitors. He is marketing and communications expert and his experience ranges from Financial Firms to Top most consulting firms. He is currently the founder and CEOof Review Solicitors.Saleem has one many awards in Entrepreneurship such as The Entrepreneur of the Year award from London Business School. He is passionate about startups and is Entrepreneur Mentor in Residence at London Business School.
Toby Spanier is an experienced management consultant, and has advised over 20 blue chip organisations and government departments over the past 17 years at Deloitte. He specialises in evaluating the financial effectiveness of organisations. He is a Global Chartered Management Accountant, a Fellow of the Institute of Management Accountants, and a former Sloan Fellow at London Business School. He serves on the Board of the Deloitte Pension Plan, with the specific role of “Voice of the Customer” for 15,000 members. He has previously served as Chairman of a London based Arts organisation, as well as other trustee and director roles within both the public and private sectors.