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Newsletter 77 (Apr 2023)
Newsletter 77 (Apr 2023)

Dear Colleague
 
“Life is a rollercoaster, just gotta ride it.” Maybe you are familiar with these lyrics from Ronan Keating’s Life is a rollercoaster song. This is also exactly how life sometimes feels to us - one month just seems to slip into the next as time flies by at an incredible speed. When even kids tell you nowadays that they seem to have no time, you can most probably believe it from your own personal experience.
 
We are well into Autumn now, with Winter lurking over the horizon. Enjoy the last days of Autumn before the chilly Winter sets in.
 
EFBOE competition update
It is time to bring you up to speed with the front runners in the EFBOE competition!
 
Five months have passed since the start of the competition, still leaving more than enough time to unseat the current front runners and claim a place for yourself in the top two spots.
 
In no particular order, we have Arend de Waal (Cape Town), Christo van Zyl (Pretoria), Anton Redelinghuys (Cape Town), and Luciano Benade (Pretoria) as our current competition front runners.
 
Well done gentlemen! Remember to keep on submitting new Wills and power of attorney estates to keep on earning points to stay in the running for the prizes that will be awarded at the end of October 2023!
 
Workers’ Day
We are looking forward to yet another long weekend as Monday, 01 May, is International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, an international public holiday that celebrates the rights of workers. This day commemorates the achievements of the labour movement and is celebrated in more than 80 countries.
 
We wish you a happy Workers’ Day!
 
Mother’s Day
The month of May would not be complete if we did not pay tribute to all the mothers in South Africa. On Sunday, 14 May 2023, we will be celebrating all mothers, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers on society as a whole.
 
You are appreciated and loved, and we wish you a very happy Mother’s Day!
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DIGITAL PLATFORMS OF THE DEAD
 
There is no doubt that digital technology is the life blood of today’s communications technology. Digital technology drives almost everything that we use and encounter in our daily lives. This includes electronic tools, systems, devices, and resources that generate, store or process data.  We are living in a digital world where almost all information is stored digitally in different locations. It is almost impossible to perform any transaction without your mobile phone! Social media, multimedia, online games, and mobile phones are at the centre of digital technology. Technology is also constantly being improved to make tasks easier and faster, while at the same time collecting a variety of data. Whether we like it or not, we actually have limited control over what data is collected.
 
If we were focus on the use of social media platforms only, and the data collected by and stored from these platforms, a study conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) in 2019 predicted that the deceased may outnumber the living on Facebook within 50 years, that is by 2070. Based on 2018 user levels, the study predicted that at least 1.4 billion members will pass away before 2100. According to the OII study, the number of deceased users could reach 4.9 billion before the end of the century, should the world’s largest social network continue to expand at the average rate of 13% globally (as concluded in 2019 when the study was conducted). However, according to data released by Facebook (now Meta) in 2022, Facebook has seen a deceleration in its user growth numbers since 2018. The average annual increase has slowed significantly to about 7%. Nevertheless, this has not changed the fact that the constant increase in digital data being collected and stored must still be addressed as a matter of importance. 
 
This increase in data collection and storage will certainly have implications for how we treat our digital heritage in the future, and this has become a question that should be addressed as part of our estate planning.
 
Social media profiles remain active after we are gone. The question is: What should become of these profiles after we pass away? Must they remain available for family and friends as a reminder of our life, or should the data be removed, or even deleted?
 
You might think that there is nothing anyone would want from your data that is being collected all of the time, but the reality is that, depending on the platform, all of the personal data contained in your profile could be attractive to the highest bidder and thus be made available to them. According to a study done by AI & Society, even if you never shared your banking details or crypto assets online, the “big data” gathered by long-term accounts, such as Google and Facebook, can be worth a lot to the right buyer.
 
“Big data”
Big data is the long-term data collected over a period of years, including activities within interactive applications, such as games and creator applications. You will be amazed at what can be learned about you by processing this kind of information via artificial intelligence, which finds patterns in your interaction with the applications. This information can be valuable, depending on the field, and can be used in a variety of ways. Even though the technology is quite complicated, the availability of data is simple because our right to privacy expires when we pass away. This can be to some extent be prevented by making specific provisions for your “digital heritage”.
 
Meta  discusses how to memorialise  an account in their Help Centre. You can choose whether your Facebook account should be deleted or memorialized after you pass away. Should you choose that the account be memorialised, you can select a Legacy contact who will then look after your page. The legacy contact will not have access to the account, nor will they be able to post as you. The same applies to Meta’s Instagram platform. No such function is available on Twitter yet but, upon a request of the proven appointed executor, the account will be deactivated. Google’s option can be found under their account setting, which can include the appointment of an Inactive Account Manager who will be able to look after a deceased’s account, which will include their Google applications suite.
 
Our digital lives are now so intricately interwoven with our physical lives that they have both become important to be cared for when we pass away. Estate planning should now include sections on who will have access to your passwords, account management, and what you would like done with your social media profiles and data. These are details that should form part of the Life File, a document that we have discussed in previous newsletters. The Life File is available on SharePoint or you can request a copy of this document from Marietjie van Zyl (Pretoria) or Jean Nel (Langebaan).
 
The handling of your digital platforms is an aspect that is worth considering. By making provision for the handling of your social media platforms and data, you can rest assured that your data will be handled in the way that you would like it to be.
 
Various sources available on request
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A SERIES ON LEADERS WHO LEFT THE BIGGEST LEGACIES
 
People want to be remembered in some way after they are gone and want to leave a memorable legacy. Legacies come in very different forms. They can be self-aggrandizing or selfless. In the next few editions of the EFBOE newsletter, we will remind you of some of the biggest legacies left by leaders for the benefit of all mankind.
 
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Albert Einstein is a prominent name known to most people. He was a German theoretical physicist, responsible for developing the theory of relativity. He is described as a peerless genius, and there is also the notion that he was one of the most methodically motivated human beings who ever lived. What made Einstein great was that he discovered what motivated him most and then remained devoted to pursuing his motivations. The famously eccentric genius also came up with the mass-energy equivalence formula, E = mc². In 1921 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics, having discovered the law of the photoelectric effect. This discovery was to become pivotal in the evolution of quantum theory, an infinite legacy still relevant to us all today.
 
Until next time!
The Let’s Talk EFBOE Team
 

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