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Digital Life After You Die

Cross Grave Graveyard Clip ArtMy best “geek” girlfriend has stage 4 cancer. She knows she has X number of months to live.

During our last visit, our discussion turned to her digital life. How can she handle it before
her death? What was going to happen after she is gone?

As more and more of our lives become digital, the question becomes about what happens to our digital lives after we are gone or incapacitated. Consider all of your online accounts (Facebook, Linkedin, mail, banking, investments, forums, and any other online services you may use). How about your phone, laptop, and tablets? Does someone know how to access these devices or services if you are unable to do so?

There are companies who will handle these details for you after you are no longer able. See http://mylifescoop.com/featured-stories/2010/10/7-resources-for-handling-digital-life-after-death.html for a list.

My best “geek” girlfriends husband is not very tech-savvy. Because she handles the entire in-house tech and online banking, she has started considering what needs to be done now, so that he will not have to deal with it after she is gone. He is now familiar with the banking website. She has begun archiving and transferring photos and videos to the appropriate people. As her time comes closer, she will start turning off the servers in her house (did I mention she is a geek?). She plans to reduce her current household network infrastructure to just a modem, router, and her husbands PC. The network configuration will be clearly documented and left with her husband. If he requires help, someone can easily come and in provide any technical assistance he may need. It will be one less item her husband will have to deal with.

We started talking about her online digital life. After some research, I discovered Facebook will
convert her current profile into a memorial page once the appropriate documentation has been submitted. Other accounts will have to be disabled, deleted, or managed, based on her wishes. She can also give her usernames and passwords to a trusted friend. When the time comes, that trusted friend can post the update and then proceed with converting the Facebook page, if she wishes, and delete other accounts as required.

If there is a silver lining to this tragic and all too common story, at least she has the time to prepare her digital life for her physical death.

Categories: Digital Life
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