Many Internet users wonder what will happen to their digital assets when they pass away. The question has become more prevalent as the digital world around us grows and more people connect to social websites like Facebook and Twitter.
Currently Facebook has almost a billion accounts and it might sound morbid, but all those people will die one day – leaving over a billion accounts attached to deceased users. What will happen to their login credentials? Who will have the right to access this information?
Well… there are a number of companies that users can sign up with before they die and applications that can be used to ensure secure control over accounts. Some services allow users to store passwords and login information so that in the event of their death, family representatives can access accounts and deactivate them.
SecureSafe is the holy grail of digital asset management as it provides a digital data safe for the secure storage of passwords and documents. Their services include DataInherit which “offers a secure and private way of passing on your files and passwords to partners, friends and loved ones in the event that something should happen to you.” The website also allows users to assign beneficiaries who will be in charge of digital assets and specify digital activators. A user’s safe can be accessed through a free iPhone and iPad app, and includes a free Password Safe account – which can store up to 50 passwords and 10MB storage space.
Founded in 2010, My Internet Data allows users to safely and securely store all their digital online information in an encrypted file. As part of the service, they will also make sure that a users’ digital assets are removed from the Internet after they have passed away. “In your account, you upload your information for safe keeping. You list 3 family members or friends who will be able to close your online accounts and remove your sensitive data from the Internet after you pass away,” the website states.
Entrustet is one of the most comprehensive websites for digital asset management. Users can list all of their online account and files on their computer and then decide if they would like to have them transferred to a specific person or completely deleted when they die. The free online service also provides standardized and custom solutions for websites in the event of the death of a user and also manages their last wishes. The website recently became part of SecureSafe.
Online safe deposit box AssestLock runs on a rather unique premise: passwords and stored content will only be unlocked to recipients once the user’s death has been confirmed. While it might sound similar to other services, “AssetLock determines you have passed by waiting for a certain number of your recipients to log in and certify your passing. Once your death is confirmed your account will be unlocked (after a time delay preset by you)”. The service also allows for email messages and printed letters to be sent to various individuals, as well as instructions to be released upon a user’s death.
The website allows users to plan their digital estate and also deliver posthumous emails. As part of the service, users can specify what happens to their online accounts – either passed on to a family member, deleted or changed. The site also offers the option of having email messages and files sent to family members. It is based in the US, so it has the power to work with the social security administration to detect when a user has passed away. They have a number of free options available and a one-time $300 option.
Legacy Locker also provides users with the ability to safely and securely pass online accounts to their friends and loved ones. “It’s like a digital safety deposit box – you can put all your online accounts (emails, photos, and social networks, everything online that requires a login) in it,” states The Digital Beyond. For every account, users will be able to assign a beneficiary who will have access to their account and manage that specific digital asset. The service costs $29.99 a year or $299.99 for a lifetime subscription.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor