What do digital estate administrators do?

What do digital estate administrators do?

If you want to make provisions for your digital estate , you can appoint a trusted person from your environment as the digital estate administrator. However, there is also the possibility of taking precautions here with the help of various commercial providers. An order can be placed by the user himself or herself during his or her lifetime or by the bereaved after his or her death.

Anyone who entrusts their data to such a company must be able to rely on the fact that these companies can be trusted. Unfortunately, you can’t really judge that with the digital estate administrators. Since the services are chargeable, it cannot be ruled out that there are also black sheep among them, who are primarily concerned with making money.

The estate administration services work differently, here is an overview:

Cover letter

The estate is administered via a kind of “letter of protection” and a notification system. With the provider, the user specifies in the form of the “digital estate disposal” how the digital estate should be handled. The notification system informs the companies that cooperate with the protection letter provider about the death of customers. The companies then check whether the deceased had a user account with them and then act according to the order. The advantage of this system is that no user names and passwords have to be sent to the service provider. If the deceased has accounts with companies that do not cooperate with the service, these accounts are excluded.

Analysis of computer and laptop

Other service providers analyze the deceased’s PC or laptop and track down websites on which he or she was registered. A report is drawn up on the user’s online activities, on the basis of which the relatives can decide on how to proceed. Some companies also take care of the termination of accounts, for example. The problem is that a third party is granted extensive access to the data of the deceased.

Filing a digital will

With this variant, a digital will is deposited with a service provider. Often access data must be stored on the service’s server . Most platforms require that you reproduce this in your digital estate every time you change your password. The service is only useful in the event of death if the data of the estate administrator is up to date.

However, caution is advised here, because these companies can also become victims of targeted hacker attacks and the data may then end up in the hands of criminals.

The following applies to all variants of commercial estate administration: These services are chargeable and are “mortal”, that is, they can disappear from the market without a hitch. This is problematic because customers usually do not know what will happen to the provider’s “estate”. The customer data may fall into the wrong hands. In addition, in such cases the promised service is not provided and the money is also lost.

Anyone hiring an estate administrator should inform the heirs about this. It makes sense to include information on which documents the administrator of the estate will need in the event of the death of the user.


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