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4 Online Resources To Prepare For Your Death & Digital Afterlife

Bakari Chavanu 25-02-2011

All of us who use digital technology, including websites, photography and email, leave a digital footprint nearly every day of our lives. The younger you are, the more digital content you”˜re likely to produce, be it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or on your blog. But have you ever thought what happens to your online accounts when you die What Happens To Your Email and Social Networking Accounts When You Die? Read More ? Do your digital productions, no matter how large or small, represent a part of who you are? Is what you produce a part of the legacy you will leave behind after you’re gone?


To address these and other questions, writers Evan Carroll and John Romano have put together a website called The Digital Beyond, as well as another companion site for their book, Your Digital Afterlife. I recently started reading the book, but thought I’d head over to their site and check the free resource recommendations they have for what you can do to prepare for your digital afterlife. This may sound like a morbid subject, but death is a reality for all of us. But it’s how we will be remembered is what counts and keeps us “alive” in the hearts and minds of our loved ones.

The Digital Beyond [Broken URL Removed]

Carroll and Romano’s Digital Beyond [Broken URL Removed] is their blog site which was started in May 2009. It ponders questions and issues about our digital existence and what happens after our death. Popular topics so far include, “so what ‘does’ happen to your digital assets after you die?”, “Twitter adopts policy for deceased users”, and “Digital afterlife predictions for 2010”.  The authors also produce a podcast and post videos of their recent interviews, one which includes a talk on NPR’s Fresh Air.

prepare for your death

Their site is new, but it’s one of the few, if not the only one, that is addressing questions and issues that so-called Millennials and Gen Xers – the generations of people who will have a lifetime of digital assets – will need to address.


It”˜s usually very difficult to prepare for your death because unless you suffer from a terminal illness it’s hard to know when your life may come to an end. But as we get older, we start to think about how we want to be remembered, and what we want to communicate to our friends and family after we’re gone. Saikat wrote a great piece called 5 Quick and Simple Ways to Write Your Life Logs 5 Quick & Simple Ways To Write Your Life Logs With These Minimalist Online Journals Read More which addresses this subject, and Tina wrote a similar one about 5 Ways to Document Your Life in Pictures Online 5 Ways to Document Your Life in Pictures Online Read More .

But if you want a way to speak directly to your special friends and loved ones from the grave, so to speak, you might want to check out a very simple and direct site called If I Die.

online accounts when you die

After creating a free account on this site, you can write and store letters to your friends and family. In summary, this is how the site works:


Each letter, when finished, will be stored securely and encrypted with a special password of your choosing. No one will be able to read any of your letters while you’re still alive. If someone attempts to read a letter, this website will initiate a process to determine whether you are in fact dead and whether your letter should be released. As a first precaution, will send you an email every day for two weeks – if you respond to these emails your letter will stay locked. If you don’t respond, all is not lost – will then attempt to contact up to five of your closest friends (of your choosing) every day for two more weeks. If any of them respond to say that you are alive, your letter will stay locked. You letter will only be unlocked if neither you nor any of your friends responds to a month of constant emails.

It’s a pretty neat idea, but the important thing is for you to regularly visit and add content to your account over your lifetime, which also helps make sure the site is always up and running.

Dead Man’s Switch

Dead Man’s Switch works similarly to If I Die, but it’s, pardon the pun, dead simpler. You select a few trusted friends or family members and write them emails about your afterlife digital assets. These emails may contain where and how to access important online documents, user and password information for important online content, or any instructions in the event you unexpectedly die.

online accounts when you die

The emails are encrypted with military-grade algorithms, so you can be sure that no-one except the intended recipient will ever read them. You will be notified every so often (the site doesn’t say how often) to check that you’re still alive. If after a certain period time you don’t respond, Switch will send the emails you wrote to the recipients you specified.


This kind of “electronic will”, as the site calls it, might be very useful for people such as soldiers in military combat and other people who work in life-threatening jobs.

My Wonderful Life

One of the best things we can do for our family and friends is to help them prepare for when we’re gone. My Wonderful Life allows you to create a sort of digital life book which can include letters, favorite memories, your own obituary and even the design on your headstone.


After you register your account, you can designate “Angles” inside your book. The Angles are the people in your life that will know you have died and will carry out your wishes. The people you designate are notified about your book, and if they accept they will become one of the “Angles” who will get access to your book after you’re gone.


prepare for your death

Since so much of what we do in the digital world is password protected, it might be difficult for our family friends to access our digital assets after we’re gone. It’s resources like the ones described above that might be useful solutions to this problem.

So how are you preparing for your digital afterlife? Have you given it much thought? Let us know about your solutions.

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  1. Î??ç???™
    April 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    hehe! everyones gonna die one day! XD

  2. John Romano
    February 27, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Thanks for the covering the site and the book. One last resource that people may be interested in is our directory of digital legacy services.
    It's a pretty comprehensive list of digital estate planning, memorial websites, and after-death email services.

    • Aibek
      February 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      thanks for the input

  3. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    You forgot about

    • Aibek
      February 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      the wesbite is not available to the public yet

  4. ronakdave
    February 26, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    You forgot about

  5. Sandyr1950
    February 26, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Is "Angles" supposed to be "Angels"?

    • Bakari
      March 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      Sandyr1950, thanks for pointing that typo.

  6. Mrclose
    February 26, 2011 at 5:14 am

    After you register your account, you can designate “Angles” inside your book.

    (Would that be Right or Left "Angles"?)

  7. Mrclose
    February 26, 2011 at 6:14 am

    After you register your account, you can designate “Angles” inside your book.

    (Would that be Right or Left "Angles"?)

  8. Lisa Moffa
    February 26, 2011 at 2:19 am

    Talk about having a comprehensive Exit Strategy!

    • Bakari
      February 26, 2011 at 3:24 am

      Thanks, Lisa, appreciate the feedback.

  9. Jillian Babbel
    February 26, 2011 at 1:50 am

    I think this is going to grow into a HUGE market and become hugely important! Thanks for a great post of something I've honestly never seen anyone post about.

    • Bakari
      February 26, 2011 at 3:24 am

      Yep, I totally agree. When you read the book, you'll see that there lots things that need to be done. I can imagine several new websites springing up around the needs of digital afterlife services.

      • Joanna Ata
        August 21, 2017 at 11:45 am

        Hey Bakari,

        Great article! You are right there is a need for this kind of service. Digital planning and making sure your information is safe is vital nowadays. That is why we founded AfterVault ( We have been listed in Digital Beyond website. I hope your readers will benefit from our service.
        Thanks again