Email, Facebook messages, Twitter DMs—they will, as email guru Merlin Mann suggests, keep coming even after we're dead. TIME suggests you make a plan for your online accounts-especially if you don't want your inbox contents revealed.
Photo by Chris Fleming.
The TIME piece is meant to get you thinking about what you want to happen to your various online information when you die. Sounds great, sure, you'll get to to it eventually—but consider that not having a plan in place means your relatives might get a peek at your digital stuff, if they really want it:
In 2005, relatives of a Marine killed in Iraq sued to gain access to his e-mail account. A judge sided with the family, but instead of turning over the account's password, Yahoo! copied the e-mails onto a CD. Hotmail now allows family to order a CD as long as they can supply proof of death and proof of relationship. Gmail requires the same proof, as well as the copy of an entire e-mail sent from the deceased to the petitioner.
If there's nothing you don't mind sharing with the world in your inbox, or you don't think anybody wants to remember you by it, then leave well enough alone. Otherwise, you can check out one of the death management firms linked and quoted in the TIME piece, or consider asking a lawyer if secure plans for online access can be worked into your will.
What do you want to happen to your online data when you pass on? How will you secure it, or share it with just the right people? Tell us your ideas and suggestions in the comments.