NPR logo Your Online Life, After Death

Your Online Life, After Death

I tend to plan ahead, to put it mildly. But I've never thought about what would happen to my online accounts if I'm ever run over by a bus. Ten years ago you might have stored important photos and personal information in a safety deposit box, or locked in a file cabinet. Now, chances are, those things are all online, and nobody else has the key. As the Washington Post reported, enter a new category of web sites:

The new sites, with such names as DataInherit, Entrustet, Parting Wishes, VitalLock, My Last Email and If I Die, deliver the bad news in novel ways. With Deathswitch.com, if users don't respond to regular e-mails to confirm that they are still alive, the site gets increasingly worried about them, sending notes that nearly beg for a reply: "Please log on using the link below to demonstrate that you are still alive." If users don't respond within a set period of time, "postmortem" e-mails stored in their account are delivered.

The missives could be basic information, such as e-mail passwords sent to a girlfriend or banking data to relatives — or more emotionally explosive notes that tell a spouse or friend what couldn't be said during life.

Anyone ever use one of these sites? If so, tell us about it.