Time for some digital die-alogue

What to do with all the digital data we accumulate during our life times is becoming an issue that would best be dealt with while we’re still in the here and now, rather than leaving it all for someone else to deal with when we’ve died.  Otherwise it could live on to haunt our next of kin in unforeseen ways for many years to come.  Like advance care health planning, we need to do some advance care digital presence planning.

In: Ensure your digital affairs are in order before you die, researcher warns, by Emma Wynne, (ABC Radio Perth,  3 October 2019) says: 

In an era when families talk online instead of writing letters, store their pictures in the cloud and have an array of digital accounts, priceless pieces of history risk being lost because most people do not understand how to manage their digital legacy.

Get the full story hereGet digital affairs sorted sooner rather than later

On a similar note a more recent story discusses digital death certificates as an aid to life for those tidying up our affairs following our death.  

How a digital death certificate could help sort out estate and tax matters when you pass, by Nassim Khadem, (ABC News Business Reporter, Tuesday 7 July 2020), highlights some of the issues that we leave behind if we don’t have a will.  No will. How could you die without having done a will?  Well as Khadem writes: 

Almost half (45 per cent) of Australians die without a will. And from the time someone dies, it usually takes about three years for loved ones to sort out their legal affairs.

This is one of 10 recommendations made by Australia’s tax ombudsman, the Inspector-General of Taxation, in a new report delving into the complicated area of death and taxes.

“When you die, someone has to pick up the pieces,” Ms Karen Payne said.

“It’s not just a tax matter but about ensuring affairs are left in an orderly state.”

There was no formal requirement to notify the ATO of a death.

But in order to get the deceased person’s tax affairs sorted, the person acting on their behalf — either their tax agent or the executor of their will where there is one — has to jump through various legal hurdles before being able to access records, says Khadem.

ABS data shows almost 160,000 Australians die each year — with about 82 per cent of them aged 65 or over at their date of death and about 55 per cent aged over 80.

Most of these 160,000 Australians die with outstanding taxes.

State and territory laws determine who can represent the deceased after their death and a “grant of probate”, or letters of administration, are required before the ATO is able to freely engage with the legal representative.

Read his full story at this linkDigital death certificate could be a good thing


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