Legacy Tips: how to preserve your digital life and memories

Legacy tips - preserving digital life & memoriesThink forward 100 years in time. How would you like to be remembered by your family of the future? What is the lasting legacy that you want to leave behind within your communities? Are there memories you’d like to pass on as a record of how you lived and what you experienced? Traditions you’d like to share?

For some people, the value of legacy is sharing words of wisdom from experiences they’ve gained through the course of their life. One reader recently wrote to me about how he is digitising photos and correspondence that he’d received from his parents following the death of his father.

“Death erases people,” he told me. “I don’t want my Dad to be erased. There are lessons that he taught me that I want to pass on to my children for them to pass on in turn to theirs if they choose. A good start is having those recorded somewhere.”

The reality is much of our correspondence and memories — including photos –are tied up in email, social channels and across myriad online accounts. According to a recent survey, three quarters of Brits believe that physical letters and notes are the most heartfelt way to communicate but the reality is that we mostly communicate online these days, our histories now often guarded behind walls that we have to sign up to and into. And these digital assets are subject to different legal ownership rules that often digress from the laws we apply to dealing with our physical property.

Over the next few weeks, Away For A Bit will post a series of 50 Legacy Tips, short features that will provide practical guidance on how to archive and preserve your important online memories and history for future generations and for yourself so that these are not lost to the fast paced changes of the digital service industry. If you have any questions or suggestions for the series, drop a line to emily@awayforabit.com.

Social media etiquette & talking about death – what do you think?

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Credit: KROMKRATHOG at freedigitalphotos.net

At Away For A Bit, we want to know what your view is when it comes to social media etiquette and how we talk about death. What’s your response when you see the news of a friend’s death posted on a Facebook wall? How do you send condolences these days?

Please share your opinions in this very short survey. It will take a couple of minutes and all individual responses will be treated confidentially. We’ll be sharing group feedback from this survey shortly and report back on what you think.

Many thanks for participating. We appreciate your time. Have your say in this survey.

A fun idea for turning photos into wall art

Having organised photos and set up a system for keeping memories updated and easy to access, I’ve been looking at ways to display photos of events and loved ones. I’ve been struck by Author and Photographer Beth Jennings and her philosophy when she said “the planning bit is not the fun bit. The fun bit is commemorating lives. Once you’ve done the cataloguing, you can get on with the remembering.” The better half and I have moved house recently and considering the walls are still quite bare, we’ve been considering options to fill them.

I was recently introducPreserving_memories_with_digital_photo_arted to PosterCandy, an Australian service that allows users to take a selection of their photos to build and create posters. It’s relatively straightforward and easy to use, offering standardised poster templates ranging in size from 18x24cm to 84cmx119cm that you can populate with your images. The end result is a type of photo mosaic.

There are some customisable options such as colour of poster surround and flexibility around the number of photos that you can include within the poster. But it’s your images or photos that make the poster striking. You select photos either by uploading from a folder from your laptop or device or alternatively by directly uploading images from social media accounts Facebook and Instagram. Then you drag and drop them into your chosen template, moving them around until you have the result that you’re looking for.

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Sorting out photos requires a good system

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Organising photos is a challenge. It’s easy to capture spontaneous moments that hang around in a phone or somewhere in a laptop folder to deal with another time.

Years later, you have pockets of squirrelled away memories on multiple devices and in boxes under the stairs. These are accompanied by a growing unease gently etching away in the back of your mind that sorting out these digital and print moments in time is a task that a) is going to be overwhelming or b) is likely to be insurmountable and won’t get done at all.

Maybe that was just me.

I smugly say ‘was’ because after years and months of procrastination, I finally got around to organising my hoarded past. It was about a year ago that I started the process, organising through 40 years of family memories after DBS died. Here are some thoughts on how to go about it if a similar project has been quietly nagging you.

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5 minute guide: What to think about when planning afterlife messages

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SOURCED FROM:

Messages from the beyond: how planned messages can be a comfort for those grieving

Planning messages from the beyond: using digital services

How to limit emotional fall out when planning digital afterlife messages

How to avoid legal issues for beneficiaries when planning digital afterlife messages

How to avoid legal issues for beneficiaries when planning digital afterlife messages

legal_contest_digital_afterlife_messagesWith courts recognising informal documents such as notes, emails, letters, video as having legal standing, one key aspect to think about carefully when planning post-mortem messages intended for next of kin, family or friends is what you should include in them. Even if your intent is good, by leaving a personal message you may raise a recipient’s expectations or sense of entitlement relating to an inheritance and risk the potential of your estate instructions being questioned after death.

There’s a plethora of digital services now available for consumers where they can share messages and information with their next of kin, friends and family after they die.

Darryl Browne, Solicitor at Browne-Linkenbagh explains that there has been a 60 per cent increase in claims over the last decade in Australia largely initiated by people who have been acknowledged within informal documentation by a deceased party which has later been used to contest the deceased person’s will.

In the UK also, claims for mis-handling a deceased person’s estate has tripled in a year, the result of inadequate safe guards put in place as people rely more and more on DIY wills and informal estate planning measures.

“When you make declarations that are wrong, that overly inflate a person’s worth to you or are inflammatory when recording last wishes, it can be counterproductive,” says Browne. “If a will is contested, claims will take two or more years to be resolved and can have significant emotional, legal and financial implications for the intended beneficiaries of your estate.”

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