Planning For Your Digital Afterlife

Many of you likely want to know what you can do to plan for your own digital afterlife. It’s something important to think about and we’re glad you’re here to get started.

Step one: Define your assets
A good first step is to inventory your online assets. Going through this process will not only result in a working list, the process will help you understand exactly how many assets you have. You’ll find more than you thought of beforehand.

Step two: Decide your wishes
Now that you have a list, go through it and decide what you would like to happen to each asset. Maybe you want it deleted, maybe you want it archived or perhaps you want it left alone. In any case, decide what you want to happen. It might also be a good idea to check the terms of service for any Web site for which you have a log in to see if they’ve already made some decisions for you.

Step three: Choose one or more executors
You won’t be around to push the buttons, so you’ll need a survivor to do it for you. Asking a trusted friend or relative to help is essential to having your wishes honored. Think about who is knowledgeable enough to help you out with your assets. Perhaps one person comes to mind or perhaps you want to divide tasks up amongst several people. We have more information about selecting executors here.

Step four: Document your wishes
Finally document your wishes and put them in a place that’s accessible by your executor(s). There are many online services that will help you out with this part. You may be able to do this yourself using a safe-deposit box or other security mechanism, but a service might make it easier or more secure for you. It’s important to think about how to best secure your information and passwords. Whatever you do, don’t list them in your will as that will become public record.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure you make these decisions carefully and with the input of your relatives. If you have any concerns it’s never a bad idea to consult your attorney.

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One Response to Planning For Your Digital Afterlife

  1. Jeff February 24, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    These are great points. I have started this process but I can see I need to do more. Our family knows where to find a protected paper document which points them to digital assets for myself, my family, and extended family members for whom I care. Consider using low-tech mechanisms (handled securely, of course) as a starting point. We don’t know the day God has appointed for our own passing, and the executorial web service that seems like a great idea today may be out of business by then – but paper can be readable for many generations.

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