Death is a natural part of life. And while nobody likes to acknowledge that their time on this Earth is limited, many tools can help you and your loved ones prepare for the inevitable. There are Advanced Health Care Directives for what you want to happen when you’re no longer able to make health decisions, and wills for how you want your physical worldly possessions to be distributed to family members once you pass on.
But what about your digital possessions? Your social profiles and emails as well as your shared photos, videos and blog posts all continue to exist on the Internet after you have shuffled off this moral coil. Several services exist to help manage your transition into the digital afterlife, and we’ve rounded up the best of the best.
When dealing with the psychological pain associated with the death of a loved one, one of the best ways to process that grief is to say goodbye. If I Die is a free service that allows users to create personal messages that are delivered to your loved ones upon your death, giving you the chance to say goodbye to those who mean the most to you and for them to hear from you one more time. The service encrypts all messages for security, so your letters can include instructions on how you want your services to be handled, as well as passwords for your social sites should your family want to keep the photos and posts from your accounts.
Since Google apps and services expand, including Google Drive, Gmail and Google , the amount of personal information and documents we store in Google’s services has grown exponentially. When you die, you’ll likely want to have someone (or multiple people) be able to access your pictures, videos, documents and other personal information. Google recently launched the Inactive Account Manager, which proactively allows you to decide who should get what information once your account has been inactive for a defined period of time. When your account has not been accessed for a set number of days, Google will notify the pre-set list of people, and will delete your account after a period of time should you choose.
Cleaning up your accounts, even figuring out what accounts you have, can cause loved ones an extreme headache. Legacy Locker aims to help make this process as easy as possible by putting all your login information in one place, allowing you to assign individuals to manage those accounts after you’re gone. A free account has limits on the amount of information you can store, but when you sign up for a paid account at $30 per year or $300 up front, you get unlimited asset information as well as document backup. You can use that capability to store digital copies of important documents such as your will, marriage certificate and videos for your loved ones.
Facebook holds tons of captured moments (photos and videos) for any user of the social network. When you pass, your friends and loved ones would likely want to have some or all of your pictures and posts to remember you by. Thanks to Facebook’s Information Downloadprogram, a user (or users) with your login and password information can do just that. Additionally, Facebook can turn your wall into a memorial page, serving to both inform individuals of your passing and keep your memory alive for years to come.
When it comes down to it, we all want to be remembered fondly by friends and family members, and this is where Legacy comes in. Legacy has a series of tools that allows family members to create a living memorial for you, including photos, videos and biographical information into a website that will forever commemorate your life. Legacy can also help family members create an obituary for you with one or more of its 800-plus newspaper partners, and each page created can include a guest book for others to leave cherished memories of your time together. The page remains up for 14 days after it’s created for free, and a modest sponsorship ($49 for the first year and $19 per year after) will add one-year increments to your memorial page.
Secure Safe aims to be your one-stop-shop for all data storage needs. The service provides cloud document, account credentials and media storage of up to 100GB, and can transfer your information to up to 20 beneficiaries. Secure Safe has a well-designed iPhone and iPad app for easy management of your files and personal information on the go, and has top-of-the-line security akin to a typical e-banking system.
After Steps aims to do for the death and dying process what TurboTax did to revolutionize taxes. The service provides users a step-by-step process to complete financial, funeral and legacy planning from start to finish, and stores that information in a single location to pass on to your loved ones as they negotiate the complex process of managing an estate. This includes life insurance policies (often overlooked), financial accounts and power of attorney documents. Best of all, the people behind After Steps monitor regulatory changes, and send you alerts for any changes that require your attention.