There was a recent article on CNN.com about services that promise to pass on your “online” life after death. The link to the story is here.
Before I get to my take on the whole thing, I just want to comment how amusing I find the names of the companies. LegacyLocker,
AssetLock (formerly YouDeparted.com),
I’m not sure any of those inspire a lot of confidence, except for AssetLock – but then again, they were formerly known as YouDeparted.com).
Okay, with that out of the way, I actually think that the mission of these companies is laudable. As my clients know, I believe that proper estate planning contemplates the transfer of your entire wealth, not just your financial assets. This includes your “online” assets as well. For many people, a lot of time goes into developing an online presence and so much of our lives revolve around the use of social networking.
And while I think that an outside service is a reasonable way to pass those things on, I honestly believe that it should be part of a comprehensive estate plan that you do with your attorney. Beyond the ego-centric reasons for taking on this roll, attorneys have a much higher duty to safeguard this information than a third-party, for-profit entity.
Our firm focuses on establishing lifetime relationships with our clients that serve as the foundation for an effective and efficient transfer of wealth (financial or otherwise). With that as a backdrop, I think that your information is likely safer (because it’s not as big a target as a company that safeguard’s passwords) and the transition made easier (because of the closer interaction between your lawyer and your loved ones) using your attorney as a conduit than an outside company.
Some of these companies are doing exactly what I do in my practice – which is to help client capture their stories as part of their overall wealth. Every one of my clients has a Priceless Conversation as part of their comprehensive estate plan. The concept of Priceless Conversations deserves a blog post of its own, but suffice it to say that I believe that capturing, preserving, and passing on your stories is an essential part of an effective and complete estate plan.
Posted by Victor J. Medina
Medina, Martinez & Castroll