"You only die once - when it comes to having your dying wishes met, there are no second chances. Talking more openly about dying and planning ahead is in everyone's interests, as it can help ensure we get our wishes met and make it easier for loved ones". - Joe Meredith, Dying Matters
Kate Granger's inspiring story and with a personal account as to how she has prepared for her own death.
Kate Granger, a Specialist Registrar in Geriatric Medicine, has incurable cancer - and also an indomitable lust for life. Since her diagnosis, Kate has written two books, and has launched the "hello my name is" campaign, which has received national attention. In the powerful and emotional 'Kate's Story', Kate and her husband Chris discuss their situation with honesty, humour and pragmatism.
Follow Kate's story on her Twitter account
Be prepared in 5 simple steps
- Write your will
Writing a will allows you to set out who gets what after you die. If you have children your will should include names of guardians who would care for them if you were to die. It’s the only way you can be sure that your wishes are carried out and avoids leaving difficult legal problems behind for your family. To find out more about writing a will click here.
- Record your funeral wishes
Have the funeral you want, by making your wishes known. You may already know if you would want to be buried or cremated, but what about the other things you do or don’t want? Planning ahead saves your family and friends the stress of trying to guess what you would have wanted. To attain some ideas and inspiration for arranging a funeral click here.
- ￼Plan your future care and support
You don’t have to be ill or dying to think about what you would or wouldn’t want. Do talk to your family and health and care professionals, including your GP, about the sort of care you would like. Remember, you can change your mind about what you would want:
- UK - National Council for Palliative Care's approved 'Advanced Care Planning resources'
- USA - Ceters for Disease and Control's 'Advanced Care Planning'
- Consider registering as an organ donor
Whatever your wishes about organ donation, remember to let those close to you know about them. There’s no age limit to registering as a donor. You could save or transform up to nine lives after your death by registering as a donor
- Live well and die well
Did you know that the average adult makes approximately 35,000 decisions every day? They’re not all big ones: ‘have an extra 5 minutes in bed or get up and feed the dog’ is hardly a life or death decision. There are, however, some very important decisions you could make and actions to take which could have a really positive impact on your life and those you care about. You only die once. Why not make the decision today to take the initiative and make your wishes known while there’s still time?
The content above was written by Dying Matters who have kindly given us permission to republish the text for further public distribution on DeadSocial.
Preparing for death digitally
It is becoming increasingly important for us to get our digital affairs in order and prepare for death in the digital realm. Ironically the best way to prepare for death digitally is to write a will and prepare offline. Due to the very nature of death, and the process of arranging and attending a funeral, the distribution of our estate etc some preparation should/can occur online, however online preparation needs documented, referenced, spoken about and addressed offline.
Digital Inheritance planning
There are a number of ways in which we can prepare for death online. These include getting our digital affairs in order, providing directions for our digital estate and assigning our digital assets to chosen beneficiaries.
If you have already written your will you may want to create a social media will. This document should provide directions and guidance to your friends, family and/or your assigned digital executor(s) for your digital estate.
Once you have completed your 'social media will' it should (in full / partly) be printed and either 'appended to' or at least 'stored in' the same place as your 'last will testament'. You should then tell at least one person where your will and/or social media will is stored.
Whether or not your completed social media will becomes a legally binding document or not, will depend on a variety of different factors. These range from whether the document has been legally verified (according to the laws of your country) to whether or not your directions go against the 'terms of service' previously agreed with each 'service provider' referenced within the document (for example Facebook, Twitter etc)
Adhering to service providers 'Terms of Service' in your Social Media Will
Each service provider (like Facebook, Amazon, Apple etc) have their own terms of service (TOS). When you 'sign-up' to any online service they have their own rules and legally binding agreement based on the service they provide.
Most TOS do not for example allow the ownership of accounts to be transferred. Furthermore many services providers that allow you to purchase media (such as music, books and videos) do not allow for this media to be passed down once you die in the same way that books, videos and CDs are allowed.
iTunes & Amazon - An example of a Social Media Will request that would NOT be legally binding
If your last will and testament were to state: "I would like my purchased iTunes library and the eBooks purchased for my kindle to be passed down to (beneficiaries name)" the directions stated would go against Apple and Amazon's terms of service.
Both Apple and Amazon 'license' media to one person and therefore these are 'non transferable'. Digitally purchased songs, films and books cannot therefore be legally passed down to a chosen benefiter. This therefore would not be a suitable way to 'pass down' your Amazon or iTunes account in your 'social media will'. Instead you should provide directions about the physical item (iPad, Kindle, etc) in your will. You would then need to pass on the access information to the iTunes and Amazon account in order for the music, films held within the libraries to remain active (when the device is synchronised/updated) in the future.
*This action however would violate the terms and agreement entered into by the original owner of the account.
Passing on your social media profiles, photos and videos
Most social networks (like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin) do not allow for full access and ownership to be transferred. Instead they each provide their own individual ways to address the death of their users.
We have written a number of in depth tutorials to help those using social networking sites make informed decisions about what they want to happen to their digital assets and how to manage their own digital legacy. Simply visit the resources area to view the guides and tutorial list in full.
Use DeadSocial's free 'Legacy & Goodbye' tool
Start preparing your digital legacy by clicking here
Preparing for death in today's world
In conclusion, it is very important to prepare for death no matter our age, financial circumstance or health condition. If you spend time online and on social networking sites further directions should be included in your will and/or in your social media will.
- Write a Will
- Write a Social Media Will
- Write an Advance Care Plan
- Securely Storing Your Will
- Passing On Your Passwords
- Tell Someone!
- Dying Matters - www.DyingMatters.org
- LifeHacker - How to Deal With Death in the Digital Age
- PC Pro - Creating a Digital Will
- Age UK - 'Before You Go' Guide (PDF)