Welcome to the Business Bits and Bobs video series!

In this 4 part video interview, Nicolette Smith of The End of Life Care and Lynette Delane of Kits and Bits discuss the digital afterlife for you and your business.

Key Takeaways from Part 1:

  1. What is considered property?
  2. Every platform has different requirements for closing down accounts.
  3. The law has not caught up to the fast pace of digital life.

My Guest

Nicolette works as an End of Life Doula providing information, guidance and support to those who are at the end of their life. She provides compassionate care at every step of the journey, allowing those involved to feel supported, nurtured and safe.

Nicolette’s interest in the End of Life care evolved from her own personal experiences of loss and provided her with a compassionate and respectful approach to life; a personal and intimate understanding of the grieving process and the types of emotional care needed.

Transcription for: Your Digital Afterlife with Nicolette Smith of The End of Life Care [Part 1/4]

Lynette:Today's guest is Nicolette Smith from The End of Life Care. Hello Nicolette.
Nicolette:Hi Lynette. Thank you for having me back again. It's great to be here.
Lynette:I'm very excited. We're going to talk about the digital afterlife today, which most people don't even know what that means but we will soon explain it - which you and your business do workshops on so explain it to the greater Perth audience and yeah, we just wanted to have a little chat about that for the wider audience, because it's something that really up until the last ten years, didn't really exist and or matter, did it?
Nicolette:Not at all. Yeah, it's only something really that I came across because a client asked me. "What happens to my emails and all my photos on my computer and things like that?" And I was like, "Oh, I hadn't thought about that."

So that's when I started researching it and then have been presenting it as a seminar to people because now not only when somebody dies do you have to manage their physical estate, essentially we have digital assets that have to be considered and the more we're all using technology, we're all online more. We do our banking online, we pay our bills online, we subscribe to all sorts of different groups.
Lynette:All sorts.
Nicolette:Yeah, there's a lot of things then that need somebody to manage that and then having access also. Once somebody dies it can be difficult for families to actually access some of the information.
Lynette:Absolutely, and some of those providers, one the law hasn't been keeping up with digital technology.
Lynette:I know even Facebook up until two years ago, if somebody passed away you couldn't shut their site down, it was that if they had a profile account there was no way, even if you had a death certificate they wouldn't do anything about it. It's only now that the laws are starting to catch up, but even then the digital space is still moving a lot faster than the law can keep up.
Nicolette:Oh definitely. A lot of lawyers, a couple of years ago, on Hungry Beast on the ABC did a story and they rang lawyers in Australia and the lawyers said, "Oh hey, thanks for the head's up." because they were just, not even, they're oblivious to the whole process. I think now there are lawyers starting, but that's just lawyers. The law itself is not, won't have it.
Lynette:No. It's really only when people actually say, "Oh, no, I don't want them to have access to my email." That they're going, "Oh, hang on a minute, yeah, what if they don't? What if they don't want their Mum to have access to their email? What if that sort of stuff is?"
Nicolette:Yeah and I think it's only been... so the Facebook - that change with a situation in America where a soldier had died and the family wanted to access photos and things off his Facebook account and they had to take it to court to challenge it, so it's only now things are changing as people are taking these companies to court.
Nicolette:Challenging these, their right to access that information. It's a real minefield. Every platform has different requirements in terms of how to close down accounts.
Lynette:What's considered property.
Nicolette:Yes. What is property, what isn't. You think you're purchasing music, kindle books ...
Lynette:But you're not.
Nicolette:Can't pass them on. No, you're just getting rights to access them. You can't. You might have a great YouTube, not YouTube... iTunes library of music, but once you die, that's it. Gone. I'm sure that people will know ways of illegally copying that, but they are ... it's actually illegal, going against the, what's the word? The conditions of iTunes, yeah, when you're purchasing.
Lynette:The whole access thing is really interesting isn't it? Mum passed away last year but she was 83. She had one email account and she had one laptop, which I basically managed, which had one file on it, which was her memoirs. That was it. Oh and some photos but photos that I had copies of.
Whereas me, something was to happen to me tomorrow. My digital assets are almost more than my physical assets at the moment.
I don't own a house and things like that and so, but running a business so I've got, I like to compartmentalize my emails. I don't like them all going to one thing, so I have an email for all those subscriptions, all those clothes shops and Myer and whatever else so I have one for that. I have one for my family and friends. I have one for my Toast Masters life, I have a couple for my business. They all have different logins so I feel like it's ... and managing that is hard enough when you're alive, but to actually try and manage it for someone who's passed away, I can't even imagine how many email addresses are just out there. All these online accounts that just never get used, but someone's personal information is still sitting there. Yeah, it's really astounding isn't?

End of Transcription N.B. This transcription has been edited for better readability, however, the general structure is the same as the video.

Bits and Bobs an interview series for new business owners looking to avoid the pitfalls that we who have gone before have either already fallen into it and climbed out of or managed to skip over all together.
Subscribe to watch other episodes where I along with other business owners dive into some less talked about and sometimes tough subjects highlighting some of those – “I wish I had known” topics so that you can get your business going faster and easier.


Lynette embodies an intrinsic ability to save business owners money by delivering back the all-elusive “spare” time so they can use it to do what they love. She puts these principles into practice in her own business – Kits and Bits. Lynette is an avid genealogist and tango dancer.

Lynette Delane

Tech Translator, Kits and Bits

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