I’ve been reading a bit more commentary on the story I spoke about previously.
The Daily Mail’s story had a good comment from Venkatanarayanan Gopalakrishna:
“But, how to handle the changes in password, which happens either due to trying many false attempts, or forgetting or for some technical reasons!
Go back and amend the Will??”
As I said in my previous post, a will is not the obvious place to leave your passwords, or as so many people are still guilty of password. It’s a letter of wishes, or since we’re on the subject of digital media, a video of wishes. This may be a case of the journalists making the story a bit more headline friendly.
The issue of how to pass on digital content is a slightly different one from whether it is worth collecting and dividing. I can see the personal value in a digital photograph album but is the monetary value of the average person’s digital property yet of a sufficient size for people to expend effort on?
A quote attributed to “Matthew Strain, partner at London law firm Strain Keville”, reads:
“‘People have not yet come to grips with the value of these digital possessions and the risk is that they may be lost if the owner dies, or even that their estate may be liable for ongoing subscriptions to online magazines or newspapers, for instance.”
I suspect even Rupert Murdoch would shy away from charging a grieving widow because her late husband’s subscription to The Times wasn’t cancelled before the deadline but the sentiment is clear.
However I think the examples of people having serious issues with the economic value of their digital content will be few and far between, though perhaps an author’s work-in-progress or an unfiled patent application might be worthy of attention. The Daily Mail does give the example of “Kelly Harmer, 27, a chef from Hitchin, north Hertfordshire, [who] said her digital assets were worth close to £10,000 and she was including them in her will.”