As a rule, I prefer to be as prepared as possible for the future. I’m a scheduler, an organizer, a planner—and if there are unknown variables, I tend to make a Plan B and a Plan C to fit those optional outcomes. Some people think this is a little anal or OCD, but I think it’s simply efficient. I can’t get everything done that I want to do if I don’t organize it ahead of time!
So it makes sense that I have already put thought into planning my funeral and distributing whatever worldly wealth I may have accumulated by the time I leave this life. I’m not doing this to be controlling; I’m doing it to be helpful. I know you’ll be all-but-paralyzed with grief at my passing, so it seems considerate of me to put some plans together ahead of time. That’s just the kind of person I am. I give, and give, and give. You’re welcome.
The digital beyond
But here’s where I’m stuck:
What plans should I make for my digital assets when I’m no longer here to manage them?
Think about it. Think about how much of my life (and probably yours) happens digitally—through multiple email addresses, a LinkedIn profile, a LinkedIn business page, my own Facebook profile, the LifeLines Facebook page, and all the various Facebook pages I am an administrator of. That’s a lot of digital real estate! And some of it is “mine,” while some of it I simply steward for other businesses or nonprofits.
Not to mention the LifeLines blog and website! What should happen to all this incredibly profound and practical content? Should it simply disappear whenever my hosting term expires? Should I name someone my Digital Executor? Would anyone want to inherit that kind of responsibility? And would the people who follow me now want to follow someone who is simply administering my digital estate?
I don’t know.
The digital divide
In the material world, it’s normal for your family members to inherit your assets. But digital assets have different complications. I’m pretty sure no one in my family would consider it an honor to be named my digital heir. (They are annoyed enough with their own email and Facebook pages!)
There are a few people outside of my family who are on the other side of the digital divide. They have the technical chops to manage digital properties—but the reason I know they have the chops is that they already have their own digital properties! So it seems unlikely that inheriting mine would benefit them in any way.
So I’m turning to you, LifeLines readers, for input. Have you made any plans for your online remains after you’re gone? Or is this a non-issue, and I’m being too OCD about it?
Who will inherit your digital assets?
Follow-up post: Digital Obituary Options