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Digital Estate_25min



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Facts show: Every day we leave behind a multitude of digital footprints. Those footprints do not go away – even after we die. Nevertheless, only 18% of users in Germany manage their digital estate. But what is a “digital estate” anyway?
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What do you think of when you hear the terms “estate” or “heir”? Valuables such as jewelry, cars or money are often associated with it. Today however, life is happening more and more on the Internet, where things get left behind after someone dies.

A digital estate comprises all of the electronic data a person leaves behind on a digital device (e. g. computer, tablet, smartphone) and on the Internet after his or her death. This includes customer and social network accounts. Whether on the Internet or on a hard drive – the deceased’s messages, photos and images are also part of their digital estate.
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During your lifetime you create a multitude of accounts, e. g. in online shops or on video portals. These still exist after you die.

Offline files

Those who survive you can still access images, presentations or documents that you saved while you were alive, even after your death.

Electronic messages

Every day you send and receive many messages. E-mails, chat histories and voice messages endure the passage of time.

Digital goods

More and more “digital goods” such as music files, films or video games are being purchased on the Internet. Currencies such as the crypto currency Bitcoin are also included. These purchases remain even after death.

Profiles in social networks

Nine out of ten Internet users are active on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Xing. These profiles continue to exist after someone dies.

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People have used places such as cemeteries to remember their deceased loved ones for centuries. However, the Internet also offers ways of remembering the deceased. Watch the video to see how digital offers are changing the idea of “rest in peace”.
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If heirs and relatives do not know a password, they rarely have access to the deceased’s social media accounts – even if a will determines that they should. This gets easier if you have determined a data heir or legacy contact, a person of your choice, whose task it is to manage your accounts after your death. This person can change certain parts of your user accounts, e. g. exchange profile pictures or delete the accounts completely. However, data heirs cannot read private messages.  

To find out how to determine a data heir or legacy contact on Facebook, click here.
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We know, no one likes to think about dying: But think about tomorrow today and settle your digital estate in time. Your relatives will thank you for it!

You can find a summary of the module in the download section.

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