By Your Call Publishing | ,

Health With Omega - February/March 24

Thinking About A Digital Legacy

On a recent visit with grandchildren to a Museum of Local History in Nottingham I came across a PBX telephone switchboard where you have lines for incoming calls that you plug into holes on the board for different extensions.  In 1972 I was temping in London as an admin clerk when the firm realised their telephonist had gone on holiday.  I was commandeered to take over for 2 weeks.  I had 20 minutes to learn 90 extensions and how to work the machine.  By lunchtime the chaos was calming down and I ended up loving the whole 2 weeks.  Reminiscing I said, “Oh! I used to work one of those!”  My son, shocked, replied, “Mum, just imagine – from that to a smartphone in one lifetime!” 

Yes, it’s been dramatic, there was more computing power in my first Nokia 3310 than in the guidance computer controlling the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. 

The internet was born in 1983 and became available to the public as the World Wide Web 10 years later.  We now have information at our fingertips on smartphones 24/7 and have uncluttered offices and homes as email, hard drives and cloud storage have transformed society.

We are eco-friendly not printing emails but every byte of our phone data, email, photos,

 videos, gaming profiles and social media content takes up ‘space’ somewhere.  The desert is stacked with servers maintaining this huge data burden, some of it ours.  What happens to my data?  It stays there unless managed by a digital legacy.

We carefully make a will leaving money and possessions to our loved ones, so they don’t go to the State, or Charles III if we live in Cornwall or the Duchy of Lancaster.  We are less informed about managing our digital legacy, but it is just as important.  At the simplest level, would someone be able to access your phone, inform your energy supplier to end the contract, or tell your Facebook friends you had died and memorialise your pages?  There is much to be thought about as you must not leave a list of passwords lying around in case you invalidate an insurance or give the bank a reason not to refund your money if you are defrauded.

The small print in the privacy and end of life policy will explain who owns your digital data for each online service you have engaged with.  Ever read one?

It is advisable to make a Social Media Will, for digital data of no monetary value, and a separate entry in your formal physical assets Will, for any digital assets that have financial value.

Both the Digital Legacy Association and Dying Matters have useful websites, and the Omega Course covers these issues along with information on Lasting Power of Attorney, Mental Capacity, and DNAR. 

Importantly we also encourage having fun doing the things you always intended to do but never got round to.  Good end of life planning, done well, is a salve to anxiety and gives freedom to live life to the full and confidence to listen to and help family, friends and neighbours in difficult times.

We love Leonard Cohen’s quote from The Week 22/10/16: It’s a cliché but it’s underestimated as an analgesic. Putting your house in order is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.

Interested? Then join us.  Our next Omega Courses are:

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOONS: 28th February - 28th March at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Leamington Spa.

Dr Chantal Meystre
Mobile: 07999 739381