Author Avatar Internet Death & Afterlife 4 Death Services

by Webnme2 on Sep 6th 2010

What happens to your online identity, online property, online friends, and online accounts when you die?

Disclaimer: These articles are not intended as legal advice. For legal advice you may wish to consult your planning and estates attorney. The information here may be helpful to you in asking questions and making the right plan for your assets.

This is the fourth of a five part series of articles on digital death and your internet afterlife.



Digital Death Services

Before you start, you should understand that a digital death service is not a replacement for a Last Will and Testament for the disposition of your estate and assets. These services typically provide a way to make notifications and share information after you die. To avoid later legal issues it may be helpful to discuss these services with your attorney when drafting your Last Will and Testament. Your attorney will know the legal requirements for wills in your jurisdiction and can also advise you on a variety of estate planning matters. Your attorney can also advise you when the use of a digital death service is appropriate and when it is not.

When considering these services you should first assess what your needs are and whether the service provider can fulfill those needs. Ask how you provide information to the service provider and whether it is secure. Ask whether the storage of data is secure and whether it is encrypted. Consider what criteria are used to determine when to release your information — does the service require proof of death, allow another person to exercise power of attorney if you are disabled, etc. For services that require a set number of people to all unlock your account, what happens if one or more of these people loses their account data (log-in information) or predeceases you such that they are unable to unlock the account? You may also want to ask what happens to your information in the event the service provider’s business fails – what guarantees do you have that your data will be properly handled.

The information provided below was current on the date of publication and based on the service provider’s representations on its website. Offerings may have changed since publication. You should review what is presented by the service provider carefully to assure that it will provide what you need. The provision of data here is for informational purposes only and not an endorsement for any service.

AssetLock.Net

  • Store digital copies of documents
  • Final messages for family and friends — letters and emails
  • Final wishes – funeral arrangements, eulogy, obituary, notifications
  • Instructions to help settle/manage estate
  • Locations of important documents, insurance policies, safe deposit box keys,
  • Store passwords, hidden accounts, lock combinations, etc.
  • Uses encryption
  • Designated people can unlock account – can require all to unlock before info released
  • Time delay can be added to unlock process

 

Deathswitch.com

  • Automated system prompts you for a password on a regular schedule to make sure you are still alive. When you don’t enter the password after a set time, you are presumed dead and your messages are sent to those named by you.
  • Depending on service level you can send up to 30 messages with up to ten recipients each
  • Can send attached files like documents, pictures, and videos
  • Can send computer passwords, financial information, final wishes, love notes, secrets, instructions, etc.

 

i-tomb.net

 

While this is not a service for disposing of your Internet assets, it is worth mentioning as a virtual cemetery where remembrances can be shared.

 

JustincaseIdie.com

  • United Kingdom service
  • Create a message that will be sent to it’s intended recipient if you fail to log back into the system within the timeframe that you set.
  • Can send computer passwords, financial information, final wishes, love notes, secrets, instructions, etc.

 

Last Messages Club

  • United Kingdom service
  • Leave messages for loved ones
  • Manage your digital will (details of your online life)
  • Tell where to find important documents like insurance policies and bank accounts
  • Provide passwords to online accounts to somebody so that they can close them down
  • Data encryption
  • Up to 100 recipients for messages
  • Messages only sent when at least two people confirm you have died and other safety criteria are met

 

Legacy Locker

  • Advertises that its service is like a digital safety deposit box
  • Can store passwords to online accounts and assign a beneficiary to each account
  • Can store backups of important documents and photocopies of what’s in your wallet
  • Encrypted storage – bank level security
  • Can send farewell messages and videos
  • Requires at least two people to verify you are dead before assets released
  • Require receipt of a certified physical printed death certificate prior to releasing any sensitive information
  • Confirmation of beneficiary identity before release of information

 

MyWebWill

  • Deactivate, change or transfer accounts after your death like Twitter, Facebook, or your blog
  • About thirty different online sites work with My Webwill (list of sites)
  • At least two persons required to verify your death
  • Requires death certificate

 

SlightlyMorbid.com

  • Depending on level of service can list up to 50 friends to notify in case of death
  • Can designated trusted contacts who can initiate a message to all listed friends in the event of death
  • Depending on level of service can send custom last words messages.
  • Price is one-time charge with up to three years of changes. Renewal for additional three year period to make further changes at reduced rate.

 



About Webnme2

The author's first experience with computers was with Fortran IV. Wow that's ancient. After graduate school, he taught history for a number of years at a community college before becoming an attorney. In 1997 he changed careers to become a web developer/designer with an interest in all things web related. He currently maintains several dozen websites. This is his personal blog. The opinions expressed are his own.

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