You Are Dead. So Now What Happens With Your Digital Life?

There is no easy way to say this but here goes: You are going to die and so am I. It is not a matter of if we will die, but rather when.

Now that fact is out of the way and on the table, what is going to happen with your digital life when you’re gone?

Really good article today in the New York Times about this exact topic: Is Your Digital Life Ready for Your Death?

You’ve probably thought about what will happen to your finances, your possessions and maybe even your real estate when you die. But what about your Facebook account? Or your hard-drive backups?

The NYTimes article gives several practical actions to take and they’re easy to do: 

  • Choose up to 10 people to be the executors of your Google account once you die or your account becomes inactive via its inactive account manager feature
  • LinkedIn will let a verified next-of-kin have an account removed (via this form)

But in my view there are A LOT more items you need to consider dealing with as well and to make certain loved ones (or others you trust) can manage your digital life when you’re gone:

  • Your email account so they can gain access to it. This is most important since your bank, brokerage house, and all other accounts would use email for password resets.
  • If you have a blog or a website (or like me, a bunch of them and a server) are you certain they will be archived and preserved? Unless they have a way to get in and that you have left them with instructions and usernames and passwords!
  • What about all of your other services like Snapchat, Spotify/Pandora/Apple/Google Music?
  • Any other digital services you have subscriptions to?
  • Do you use a password manager? (you should be) If you do use one, make certain you have at least one (and preferably two) people who have access to it. My wife, daughter and I use LastPass and each of us can “share” our passwords with the other.  That means that, if I were to perish, either one could login to my LastPass and gain access to anything. I also have a Secure Note in it telling them what to do in case I’m dead.

Let’s hope you and I live for many, many years yet.Just putting off what we know is going to happen at some point means that spending an hour or two now to make sure things are taken care of is the smart choice.

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.

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