Safeguarding our digital legacy

 In Comment

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Digital legacyIt is that time of the year, yet again, when we give serious thought to present-giving. That and who to invite to join in the festivities of course! There will always be those people you want to give a gift to but that either seem to already have everything or are particularly hard to pick for.

If we cast our minds to how gifts have changed these days, we can get a few clues as to what some more hard-to-buy-for people may really appreciate, without even realising they need it in fact!

I am referring to the way digital items have taken over our lives and therefore, by extension, our gifts. Traditional gifts such as music, books and films can all be downloaded at the drop of a hat these days, making them not only harder to wrap but not very researched or thoughtful! A voucher for any of these always looks somewhat disappointing, it almost seems to say, sorry, couldn’t think of anything else….

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Having said that, it is precisely with these gifts in mind that a very unusual, and mostly not thought of, gift would be welcome in pretty much any setting. The gift of ‘peace of mind’. After all peace is topical, given the time of year, and peace of mind is something we would all love a slice of. Just think for a minute, what would happen to all these digital assets – be they music, films, photos or books if the owner were to die. I realise this is not a jolly thought, especially at this time of year, yet it is a fact of life, so let’s face it square on as it were.

All our digital assets from personal social media accounts to our wealth of cultural artefacts (some people have even started collecting digital art) risk being inaccessible and lost to loved ones and next of kin if we don’t ensure they are properly ‘managed’. Currently the figure stands at £25 billion worth of unclaimed digital assets in the UK alone.

How many of us actually safeguard our digital property in the same way we safeguard our physical property in the event we die? Having a Will does not automatically mean all one’s digital assets are included. Few people really think about that side of things and even if they did, access is still a practical problem.

Yet digital estate planning is neither costly nor complex, as a global IT consulting and knowledge management company recently confirmed, when they purchased 40 Personal Digital Asset Management Plans, one for each of their staff, it also happens to be one of the most original Christmas gifts anyone can expect to receive!

Of course there is still the issue of how best to wrap this kind of gift, but given that the theme is digital here, I believe the recipient will forgive you!

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