Hello friends. After a long (too long) hiatus from blogging, I'm back at it. My apologies if you have been checking in only to find old posts. I'll do my best to keep up with new posts.
When we think about planning for the eventuality of our death, we think about what will happen to children, and what will happen to businesses, and what will happen to our physical property. Often overlooked, probably because it is a relatively recent phenomena, is our online property. Think for a moment--how many e-mail accounts do you have? Do you have a Facebook or MySpace account? What about Twitter or LinkedIn? Do you have an Amazon or eBay accounts? Do you have a blog? And what about the countless number of other services for which you have created an account or online profile?
As this article from the New York Times makes clear, we need to put a plan in writing so that our loved ones know about our online activities and how we would like these online properties and selves to be handled upon our death. If you want your online profiles to be taken down or maintained, you need to make these wishes known to your loved ones in a will or other directive to them. In addition, you need to ensure that they have the necessary passwords in order to access those accounts. Some have handled the issue of providing passwords by listing them in a document or letter which is to be opened upon death. However, with the common refrain that we should change our passwords often because of security risks associated with using the same password for too long, and the likely chance that we may not remember to print a new letter, this may not be the best approach. I recommend using a password manager such as KeePass in order to maintain different strong secure passwords for various online accounts, but only having to remember one single password. With a password manager such as KeePass, you would only need to provide one password to your loved ones in order for them to have access to your various online accounts after your death.
So remember, just as it is important to have a will to dispose of physical property, it is just as important to make a plan for your online property as well.