7 Resources for Handling Digital Life After Death
This post originally appeared on My Life Scoop, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about using social media and technology for a more connected life.
Death is a fact of life. When someone dies, they’re no longer physically here, but their digital self lives on. There are more than 5 million accounts on Facebook that are inactive due to death, according to the calculations of BlackBook Media’s Executive Editor Chris Mohney. And that’s just Facebook. Think about all of the other social sites and online services out there – the number of abandoned accounts due to death must be enormous.
After someone passes away, their digital assets live on in the form of computer files and data online. For some, that’s not a big deal. But for others, the thought of leaving digital assets unattended for eternity after death is unthinkable. Luckily, there are a number of services that allow you to delete, update, or transfer account information after you — or someone you care about — is gone.
Here are seven services that help manage a digital life after death. If you’ve heard of other services that also handle these services, add your thoughts in the comments below.
Entrustet is a free service that enables an account holder to pass on digital assets to up to 10 designated heirs and one executor, who is in charge of executing a person’s digital wishes after they pass away. Digital assets include social networks, financial accounts, blogs, e-mails and other Internet properties or files.
Check out the video above where Rocketboom Tech‘s Ellie Rountree interviews Jesse Davis, co-founder of Entrustet about how the service works and why it is important.
2. Legacy Locker
Legacy Locker was one of the first services to be offered in this arena and is a trusted service for transferring access to digital assets, including e-mail, social media and blogging accounts, to trusted sources.
Legacy Locker offers three pricing plans, starting with a free account that includes storage of information for three digital assets, one beneficiary and one legacy letter, which acts as a digital goodbye note sent after death. If the basic, free service isn’t enough, there’s also the $29.99 per year plan or the $299.99 one-time fee plan, which both allow for unlimited assets, beneficiaries and legacy letters, as well as document backup and video upload.
3. My Webwill
My Webwill ensures that a trusted person can change or transfer someone’s online accounts, including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Tumblr, YouTube, and more, after a death. Choose the desired settings for each account and choose two “trusted verifiers” to confirm the death, and upon notification of that person’s passing, My Webwill performs the deceased person’s wishes.
Future.tk is a social network with an online messaging service that lets anyone schedule messages up to 50 years in advance. Using the free post-mortem feature, it can also schedule messages to be sent to recipients after a death. To use this feature, the sender must select trusted sources to notify Futuris.tk of their passing, after which your messages can be sent.
Because it offers unlimited messages for free, Futuris.tk is ideal for people who might have a lot of unfinished business to tie up with friends and family after death – or for someone who wants to send many personalized messages.
Deathswitch is a service that periodically prompts the account holder to provide a pre-determined password to ensure they’re still alive. If that person doesn’t enter a password on multiple occasions for a period of time, it deduces that the person is either dead or critically injured and begins sending out personalized pre-written messages to chosen contacts.
The service can be used in many ways, but according to the site, some of the more common uses include sending passwords, financial information, final wishes, last words, love notes, and funeral instructions.
With a free subscription, you can create one message to be e-mailed to one recipient. Or for $19.95 per year, you can prepare up to 30 messages with file attachments for up to 10 recipients per message. Like Futuris.tk, this is a great option for sending out bulk messages, except in this case you have to shell out for the service. You do, however, get the extra benefit of adding file attachments, such as photos and videos.
GreatGoodbye is a service that enables an account holder to schedule e-mails to loved ones, which can only be triggered once an activation code is entered by a trusted source. Once you prepare your e-mails, which can include videos, photos and MP3s for a price, your activation code is sent and should be passed along to a trusted friend.
The service offers three pricing plans – a free plan that only includes one e-mail, or the $20 per year plan, or $119 one-time fee plans that include unlimited messages with unlimited videos, photos and MP3s. All of the plans come with unlimited memory space that lasts for 20 years, data encryption, secure login, 21 days to block the sending of messages after a death notification and multiple levels of security.
AssetLock is a service that focuses on mass storage of important information that may be crucial for others to know after a death, including information on financials, estate planning, insurance policies account passwords, e-mails and final wishes and directives. It has the capacity to store letters to be sent after a death, as well.
The great thing about AssetLock is that it is very customizable. For example, you can choose the number of “recipients” necessary to unlock an account. So, it you want at least five people to verify a death with the service before they unlock information, you can do that. Furthermore, you can also specify the time delay between an account being unlocked and the information being disseminated.
Pricing plans range from $9.95 per year to $239.95 for lifetime membership, depending on the amount of entries and storage space you require. Compare plans here and check out the demo for more information.
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Image courtesy of iStockphoto, RichardForeman