Absent a comprehensive legal framework for maintaining our digital afterlife, some online companies have started to create their own processes for account management for the deceased.You can also take managing your digital legacy into your own hands. Some startups are stepping in to help organize the virtual afterlife. A few options to consider:
Set up posthumous messaging. Services including Afterwords.cc and Dead Man’s Switch let you create videos, e-mails or text messages that will be sent after you have died. (Just make sure that if you’ve set up a service like this and it e-mails you, you verify that you’re still alive. For some services, if they don’t hear back after multiple attempts, they assume you’re dead and send the messages.)
Make a Google will. The Inactive Account Manager tool, found in the Google account settings page, lets you decide if you’d like your data deleted or passed on to trusted contacts after your account goes inactive for a certain period of time.
Create a memorial website. Among others, 1000Memories, which is owned by Ancestry.com, invites friends of the deceased to submit photos and stories, and Bcelebrated lets the user create their own autobiographic sites.
Protect your digital assets. Sites including MyCyberSafe, Cirrus and Chronicle of Life store your digital files and accounts in one place.
Plan your funeral. Using the app Legacy Organiser, you can leave suggestions for your funeral or will and create a 50-song “soundtrack of your life.”
Back up your DNA and mind. Spit into a tube and send your cells in to LifeNaut to store in a “bio file.” You can also submit information for the company to create a computer-based avatar based on your attitudes, values and mannerisms.