17 Jul

Hallelujah – outdated law on wills to reform, wills to go electronic!

The Law Society has announced that, in their own words, the outdated law of wills needs an overhaul.

In a statement on their web site, they indicate that Victorian laws, out of step with the modern world, are failing to protect the vulnerable.

With an estimated 40% of adults dying each year in the UK without a will, the focus is on softening rules, possibly lowering the legal age for making wills from 18 to 16, and taking account of conditions like dementia.

Almost as an aside, they add that they also want to pave the way for the introduction of electronic wills. There appears to be no indication yet of what form this would take, but we at YOH would expect to see this meaning wills will be stored as electronic records, and also hopefully made available online, other than just to the legal profession itself as currently (for those wills where an electronic copy has additionally been created).

Public consultation on will reform run until 10 November 2017, and you can review and respond here: http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/wills/

10 Apr

Delete your online history when you reach 18!

One day this will be posssible! In a recent article in the Guardian by Martha Lane Fox, we are reminded that the EU has an initiative to ensure that adults can get rid of those annoying posts that would otherwise haunt them into adulthood. This appears to have stalled though. Is that because other services such as Snapchat are filling the gap, perhaps?

14 Mar

Legacy digital assets being taken seriously at last?

In the murky world of how the digital assets of someone who has died are treated, some clarity is starting to emerge.

It’s difficult enough finding out whether the deceased had digital assets (online bank or betting accounts, bitcoins, social media etc), let alone getting access to them.

Until recently, access could only be obtained by being a) a nominated contact ( in the few instances where online entities actually have a policy for this), b) logging on as the individual (requires knowing password and possibly illegal as this may breach hacking/identify theft measures), or c) providing a death certificate and possibly having to resort to  a court order.

In the U.S. the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) is being enacted across the various states through to the end of this year, giving rights to access an individual’s digit assets by their fiduciary (executor, in the UK).

Now there is lobbying for consistency in the tax treatment of such resources, NASDAQ reports.

Anyone aware of the situation to provide an equivalent to RUFADAA in Europe, please let us know. As far as we can tell, we’re still waiting for the completion of a feasibility study.

28 Feb

Facebook is now how you hear about a friend’s death

A survey into how deaths are announced in the UK has discovered that 1 in 8 of us would use Facebook. And a quarter of people say that they would not know that someone had died had it not been shared online.

Breaking bad news online seems to somehow still be regarded as a bit of a surprise, not the obvious thing to do, but the reality is it’s the quickest way to spread the news. We’re surprised, frankly, that these figures are so low.

The announcement in the newspaper of someone’s passing might still be useful (for legal reasons if for no other), but why would you rely on just a local means of the news getting out? Or for births and marriages either? We’ve moved on from the days when you ring round everyone to let them know, surely?

Anyway, if you want more info on this rather unsurprising finding, you can find it in The Times or use the report’s author’s own site.

8 Feb

Your Snapchat legacy – should you worry about it?


Given that Snapchat’s IPO has been big news and is going to make it big business when it happens in March , should you be worried about any legacy content you might leave on Snapchat?

It’s great attraction to its audience ( mainly millennials , i.e. under-30s) is its impermanence – you share messages, typically multi-media ones, “in the moment”, then the content is gone.

There’s no online identity to manage as you would do with a Facebook profile, but there are some elements that you could leave behind: “memories”, in particular, and your contribution to “geostickers”, i.e. city-specific content.

Whilst Snapchat’s mantra is to avoid being creepy, there’s still the question of what would happen to your content should you die.

For a start, their Terms of Service specifically prohibit you from sharing your password, describing your content as non-assignable. And there is no password recovery should you forget (or someone dear to you want to retrieve) your “memories”, stories and posts saved into a private area.

With this sort of approach it seems you should assume your own, or a loved one’s, content will disappear when you pass on.

We’d love to hear users experience, or if anyone thinks otherwise.

UPDATE: Snapchat have confirmed they delete an account when provided with a death certificate. Their current privacy policies do not allow them to grant access to the account,

16 Jan

Today’s Social Media won’t last forever..

A recent Forbes article reminds us of the transient nature of Social Media sites. Along with a useful summary of Social sites past and present, they remind us not to forget to adapt to changing circumstances.

This applies to the personal use of these sites as much as it does to business use. Check through the sites listed and see how many you have included in your Social Media will. And maybe some you have forgotten.

9 Jan

Gomonews website restored

Following our investigation into getting hold of, and restoring, a blog that was lost when the owner died, we are pleased to announce that it has been restored, at least partially.

The website in question is Gomonews, which was owned, editted, and run by Tony Dennis, who died suddenly in February.

Our articles Getting hold of website content and Keeping a web site running describe the process followed in order to make this happen.

The domain www.gomonews.com has been recovered, and redirected to a new hosting platform.

The content was obtained from an old backup, and contains posts from the site’s inception up to March 2013.

The site has been re-created in archive form, i.e. no new posts will be added but it is a fully-searchable copy of the original posts.

There is further work to be done in obtaining the associated post images and later posts ( these ran up until February 2016), so progress on this will be reported here as and when improvements are added.

See the gomonews archive here, and watch this space for further updates!


30 Nov

Times article on updating Facebook from beyond the grave

Updates from beyond the grave

Today’s (London) Times has an article titled ” How to update your Facebook status from beyond the grave”. This mentions a number of topics that we cover here on this site, such as how to hand on your passwords when you die, leaving a social media will so that your social media accounts can be updated “from beyond the grave”, but also some interesting statistics. The source of these is a survey of 2,000 adults by probate lawyers at Jackson Canter Group.

The survey found:

  • 32 per cent of people plan to name a “social media manager” in their will.
  • More than half (52 percent) want their Facebook pages maintained
  • 15 per cent request Twitter feeds be kept alive (even though this is not current Twitter policy )
  • 1.5 percent wanted to have Instagram updates

57 percent said they only wanted their “social media manager” to reply to comments expressing sympathy, and post old memories or photos once or twice a year. More than 10 percent have requested that someone post at least once a week on their page to keep their memory alive.

That’s really quite onerous, and probably unrealistic in the long term. There is a solution however: automation. The nominated manager just needs to set up rules to do this.

– The original Times article can be viewed here  (full article only if you are a subscriber).


7 Sep

Facebook – ‘memorialize’ or delete

A "memorialized" page
A “memorialized” page

Should someone you know pass on, you might want to make this apparent on their Facebook profile.Facebook allow you to “memorialize” or delete an account. “Memorialize” means to make it apparent that the account holder is deceased, and apply some constraints – see “Our experience” below. Ideally, the person doing this has already been nominated by the deceased as a legacy contact, extending the range of actions that can be taken.

Their guidance : Facebook ‘How to’ guide

To request change:  Special request for deceased person’s account

Our Experience
You need to supply:

  • a copy of the death certificate
  • their page URL *
  • the email address they might have used to create their account, if you know it

* If you were Facebook friends you can get the url of your loved one (possibly only on a desktop machine) by clicking on their profile.  If not, search for their profile by name to find their account.

Once you have submitted the request you should receive immediate email confirmation from  support.facebook.com

You should the receive another email confirming the requested changes have been made, with a link to the updated profile (in our case, approximately 4 hours later)

What we noticed:

  • The profile name is now prefixed with “Remembering ..”
  • The date of death is not added. Facebook say they cannot make changes to the Timeline under any circumstances
  • No supplied epitaph or link to a memorial site is added even if supplied.

It is possible to write a post on the timeline still, from your own account, with any information you would like to add.

We intend to do this on the anniversary of the death in question.

Please note carefully:

  • It is  Facebook’s policy to memorialize an account, but you can also request the account be removed.
  • You can administer the account to a limited degree if you have been made a legacy contact by the deceased – see our “Social Media Wills” section. It is not possible to be added as a legacy contact to the account of someone who has passed away.