digital safe

The Digital Safe: From Life to Beyond [2024]

In today’s world, we all need a “digital safe.” Think about it: if something happens to us, how do we pass on important online details, like usernames and passwords, as well as instructions to our family? The “digital safe” is our answer. It’s like a safety deposit box but for our online credentials. We will dive into how this tool can help us protect and share our digital assets such as usernames, passwords, accounts with our loved ones. But first, let’s touch on a serious topic: Death.

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Back in 2021/2022, the Covid-19 pandemic made me think deeply. I began asking tough questions. What would happen to all my online stuff if I wasn’t here? How would my partner find and access my online savings or those special memories I’ve saved online?

In the past, people just wrote down important info on paper. Many of my tech friends swear by the old paper-and-pen method, but I have doubts. It felt cumbersome and outdated.

Then there’s another problem: How would I ensure my partner gets all this digital info if something happened to me? Saving on a computer drive has its problems. Using online storage places like Dropbox or Google Drive? Well, they have safety issues. Then I discovered the UBS digital safe. It’s a clear and simple answer to my problems. The best part? UBS has a clear plan for what happens if a user passes away. In theory, the user’s family can access the digital safe only after they prove their identity to UBS.

Inheritance in the event of death

Heirs can request access to your Safe by contacting your client advisor, for which the heirs must identify themselves in accordance with the applicable UBS rules. The client advisor will initiate all necessary steps and have an access card to access the Safe sent to a person nominated by the group of heirs.

Source: UBS Digital Safe Inheritance

The process struck me as meticulous yet user-friendly, with the advisor facilitating each step and ensuring a nominated representative from the heirs can access the safe. The cherry on top? My existing UBS account entitles me to 30MB of free storage in their digital safe, aligning perfectly with my frugal instincts yet not compromising security.

What is UBS digital safe?

Imagine a traditional safe deposit box for your online stuff. This is precisely what the digital safe is, but with a bonus: it uses top-notch UBS bank-level protection. Moreover, it’s not just for bank details.

You can save many things here, including ID cards, passports, marriage certificates, apartment contracts, insurance cards, a copy of your will, and other important papers. The UBS Safe is also the ideal spot to keep passwords if you’re worried about forgetting passwords.

For me, the real winner is its ability to guard essential stuff like my will, passport, living permit, and other legal papers. It’s also the best spot for beneficiary info, banking details, and my guide on what to do if I’m no longer around. In short, it provides a secure platform to store sensitive information and ensures that our heirs have seamless access to it in the unfortunate event of our passing.

Check out UBS’s FAQ page on UBS digital safe.

What are the requirements for the UBS Digital Safe

So, what makes the UBS digital safe stand out? Let’s delve deeper.

A Complete Solution for All Your Storage Needs

The UBS digital safe doesn’t just handle passwords; it also accepts various documents.

Documents: Whether you’re saving personal IDs, property titles, wills, or private papers, the digital safe keeps them secure for you. Moreover, accessing them when needed is straightforward.

Credentials: Storing passwords is now simpler than ever. However, UBS does discourage storing highly sensitive passwords. This feature adds convenience without sacrificing security.

Requirements for Access

UBS lays down some rules to keep things safe for everyone. So, if you’re thinking about using their service, here’s what you need to know:

  • A banking relationship with UBS Switzerland AG
  • A UBS Digital Banking contract with exclusively private banking relationships
  • Swiss residency
  • Non-US status
  • Activation of the Safe via E-Banking
  • Compatible device (iPhone or Android) for the UBS Safe App

Storage Capacity and Costing

The UBS digital safe generously offers 30MB of storage for free. If you need more, convenient monthly plans allow for expanded storage up to 30 GB. But with smart planning, the free 30MB should be sufficient for most.

Strict Prohibitions

Users are barred from uploading malware, illegal content, digital assets, and files encrypted before upload.

Confidentiality

With UBS, you can rest assured your data is treated with utmost confidentiality. UBS promises not to use client data for commercial purposes, and client advisors are strictly barred from accessing any personal files.

Protocols for Heir Access

Heirs can access your digital safe, provided they meet UBS’s identification standards.

What should you store in your digital safe?

Preparing for life’s unexpected turns means thinking ahead and providing a safety net for those we leave behind. When we’re gone, our loved ones are immersed in grief, and the last thing we’d want is for them to wrestle with financial or administrative confusion on top of that. A digital safe acts as a one-stop, secure vault for all critical details including step by step instructions that our heirs might need. From locating finances to accessing essential documents, having a centralized digital storage can lighten their load and offer clarity during a cloudy period. After all, it’s not just about storing valuable items but ensuring a smoother transition for our family to navigate life without us.

So, what should you store in a digital safe? Here is a useful checklist:

1. Financial Documents

  • Bank Account and Credit Card Details: Ensure all your bank account numbers, credit card details, branch specifics, and other vital information are safely stored. E.g. UNFCU, La Mutuelle
  • Investment Portfolios: Information about your stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments. E.g. Interactive Brokers
  • Insurance Policies: Details about your life, health, vehicle, property, and other insurance policies.
  • Deeds and Titles: Documentation for properties, vehicles, and other significant assets.
  • Beneficiaries: Documents listing out the beneficiaries for your UNJSPF pension.

2. Personal Identification

  • Passport
  • Driver’s License
  • Birth and Marriage Certificates

3. Passwords and Login Credentials

  • Email Accounts
  • Subscription Services (like Netflix, Amazon)
  • Social Media Profiles
  • Phone password and SIM pin number

4. Personal Memories

  • Photos and Videos: Especially those that are irreplaceable like family memories, occasions, and milestones.
  • Personal Diaries and Journals: Your digital thoughts and memories can be preserved for posterity.

5. Legal Documents

  • Wills and Testaments: Ensure your assets are distributed as per your wishes.
  • Power of Attorney: Documentation assigning legal authority to someone in your absence.
  • Healthcare Directives: Your wishes regarding medical treatments and interventions.

6. Professional Documents

  • Resume and CV: Always good to have a backup.
  • Certificates and Accolades: Academic and professional achievements.
  • Contracts and Agreements: Any professional contracts, partnership deeds, or business-related documents.

7. Miscellaneous

  • Receipts and Warranties: For major purchases to ensure they’re within warranty if something goes wrong.

Download checklist in PDF format.

digital safe checklist

How do your heirs access your digital safe?

Make sure you create a will and nominate an heir.

While a fully handwritten will in Switzerland does not typically require witnesses, if there’s any chance the will might be executed or contested outside of Switzerland, consider having witnesses as a precaution.

Remember, a will is a legal document with significant implications. Even small oversights or ambiguities can lead to disputes or unintended consequences. It’s always best to seek advice from a legal expert familiar with estate law in the relevant jurisdiction.

Important points if you decide to get a digital safe

Conclusion

In our tech-driven world, a “digital safe” has become essential. Traditional methods of recording important information felt outdated and slow. A digital safe would ensure that our loved ones can access our digital belongings in unforeseen circumstances. The UBS digital safe is comprehensive and user-friendly, ensuring that chosen family members can access the contents when needed. What I really like about this method:

  • A simple solution to keep important documents and instructions in case of death.
  • The information is stored in Switzerland and UBS makes sure it is secured.
  • Free of charge.

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