Do you know what happens to your digital stuff once you’re gone? The last time we went on a trip I was very excited. Bags were packed, plans were laid out, and the plane was loaded and ready for takeoff. Then, as the mind tends to do, I started to think about the ‘what ifs’ of the situation. What if something were to happen to the plane, or during the car ride to the hotel, or if there was a natural disaster? What would become of my entire online life?
I realized I was being dramatic, changed my attitude to a more positive one, and had a great vacation. But it got me thinking. What if something did happen? What about when it does happen? They say there are two absolutes in life: death and taxes. Every year, I hire a CPA to take care of my taxes and keep me on the government’s good side, but what have I done to take care of the ‘death’ part of the equation?
That moment of panic made me realize I’m not ready for what’s next. My spouse and I have many good things going for us: we’ve prepared a will and have our estate allocated out as we want. But we don’t have a full listing of our bank, retirement, and investment accounts; there’s just an assumption that the information will magically appear. On that note, how easy will it be to access the will we worked so hard to prepare?
I also thought about all of my most cherished personal memories, including the favorite pictures I’ve accumulated over the years. Would they get lost in the shuffle?
I began to research how to best go about getting all of this information into a central location, easily accessed by my heirs and laid out as simply as possible so my wishes can’t be misconstrued. That’s when I came across an article about GoodTrust, which would allow me to set up a digital legacy (it also appeared recently on CNN’s HLN news).
What is a digital legacy? It’s a centralized online site where you can store your financial documents, link to your bank accounts, and upload your valuable emails, photos/videos, and social media accounts. That way, when we’re not around, it’ll be easy to access all of the information from one place. I’d never really thought about my social media accounts. I look at pictures and find recipes on occasion and enjoy sharing snippets of my life, but when I’m gone, what would happen to them? Having them uploaded will allow them to be deleted or memorialized so they won’t linger about in the interwebs forever.
Every month I have recurring payments – it’s so much more convenient than trying to remember every little item each month. I love free shipping, so I have an account for one website. I like to stream my favorite shows and movies, so I have another account for that. When I work out, I love to have my favorite playlist, so I’ve got a subscription for that too! When I’m gone, what if they keep charging for months after, racking up charges for services that my heirs might not even realize I’d been paying for? The idea that they can all be canceled in a reasonable amount of time from one location gives me peace of mind that I’m not leaving incurring debt behind.
One of my favorite features of GoodTrust is the option to write letters to my loved ones to read after I’m gone. I can leave good thoughts and well wishes or my favorite recipes. I am also able to update these notes as time passes by, so as we hit milestones, they can be adjusted for the new circumstances. I love that it’s easily accessible and can’t be lost if something happened to my computer or home. I’ve had computers go thunk and lost information before; the idea that I’d have to recreate a letter (or letters!) that was hard to write the first time is exhausting.
The knowledge that my information and my digital legacy are secure no matter what my circumstances are is extremely reassuring. The documentation I’ll upload with them is both sensitive and personal, and I was amazed to find out the level of protection and security that GoodTrust offers. Their world-class data centers have a level of encryption comparable to that used by banks and hospitals, so I don’t have to worry about my information getting into the wrong hands.
Once I decided to start an online legacy with GoodTrust, I thought it would be overwhelming and time-consuming. I prepared myself for the task but was surprised to find out how easy everything was when it came to setting up my account. I was pleased to see they have several choices for the information I wanted to save:
After selecting my plan, it was a matter of following the steps to enter my information and upload my documents and personal files. Most of the steps took about a minute, often being just a matter of choosing from multiple-choice options and drop-downs so I wasn’t trying to figure it out as I went. When working on the site, I realized that if I do have an issue, they had rave reviews about their customer support, which is a huge plus for me.
After beginning this journey to ensure that the financial and personal legacy that I’ve worked my entire life for will be easily managed when I’m gone, I started to wonder at what point others start the process. When researching GoodTrust, I was initially surprised to find that the majority of its users are women. But then it made sense to me. When it comes to our loved ones’ care and security, it’s not uncommon for women to take charge and take care of business.
The ‘what ifs’ that life throws at you are inevitable. Each day brings a new set of challenges or worries, but the next time I get on a plane, that won’t be what’s on my mind. One of the big ‘what ifs’ is gone, and in its place, is peace of mind.
GoodTrust offers all women throughout the month of March one year of free GoodTrust Premium Plan (by using promotion code IWD2021 at checkout, $70 value). Please let your friends know!