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Getting offline after death

And, now for something that we don’t think about that much with the internet. planning for what happens to our virtual selves after death, what to do with all of our virtual affairs.

There are at least two parts to this, the first one is to have a list of all the logins and passwords for services you use. This means, email, banks, any and all payment sites, ebay, paypal, google accounts and other accounts, facebook, twitter, and don’t forget to include all of those accounts you have to make just to read or post on certain sites. Once you have this list, go through it and figure out which accounts you don’t care about, the ones that you may not want anyone to know about and strike them off the list. All of the remaining ones you should make a list of in a secure place like a safety deposit box and/or your lawyer who has possession of your will.

Now, comes the second part, you figuring out for all of your social networking accounts, how you want your death announced. If you are active in a group online, you don’t want them left wondering about why you all of a sudden stopped participating. Of course, you don’t have to set up such “memorials” for banks and such, but still have those passwords available.

And, then the fun part, actually getting the accounts terminated. Just as you probably are not even thinking about the need for this topic, many services have also ignored what they might have to do. Twitter and Facebook have actually worked out policies for what they will do with your account, but many others require an amazing amount of paper work, photo ids and account particulars, that you will find it easier to have your executor just login as you and terminate or handle your account in the way you dictate. Having a lawyer, rather than a family member, handle this part may be better as you won’t have to worry about what this person might find in some of your accounts. About the accounts you don’t want anyone to know about ever, you should find out how to clear out all your account information so that it can not be sold out later as online companies consolidate and change their terms of service.

The bottom line is to at least start with a complete list of all your online logins and passwords so that your virtual affairs can also be wound up as you would wish.