Many of us invest time and money into our digital lives but it can be easy to overlook what issues our loved ones may encounter should the worst happen. Death is never easy to deal with but planning ahead can alleviate some of the strain our family and friends may feel.

The internet has evolved far beyond the plaything of nerds and technophiles with most people interacting with it, in one form or another, on a daily basis. If I passed away tonight I would leave behind many accounts and services including: email, social media, online banking (Paypal and several others), hosting, photos and videos.

Would posthumous recovery of any of the above be possible? In most cases it’s very difficult, if not impossible. While it may not prudent to bequeath my level 80 Paladin to my next of kin, it would probably save a few difficult conversations should my son want to access my email or cancel recurring payments after I’m gone.

Google sums it up elegantly in a blog post called Plan your digital afterlife with Inactive Account Manager:
“We hope that this new feature will enable you to plan your digital afterlife — in a way that protects your privacy and security — and make life easier for your loved ones after you’re gone.”

There are many companies offering services tailored to such situations, but this subject Google has recently made the news with their Inactive Account Manager tool.

This is rather presumptuous on the fact that all of your accounts are tied into the Google network. In my experience very few people are as loyal to Google as I am so below are a few alternatives, in no particular order.

  • Death Switch -deathswitch.com
  • AfterSteps – aftersteps.com
  • AssetLock – assetlock.net
  • Bcelebrated – bcelebrated.com
  • Cirrus Legacy – cirruslegacy.com
  • Dead Man’s Switch – deadmansswitch.net
  • E-Z-Safe – e-z-safe.com

You should consider talking to your legal advisor during the process if you have anything of substantial monetary value on the internet as it could require special actions. Sorry for such a dreary, no-frills, article but I will have something fun next time, I promise! Until then, a quote…

Nothing is certain except death and taxes. – Benjamin Franklin