Idea: Online Will

When you die, what’s going to happen to all your online accounts? If you don’t have a “rich” online presence, you probably don’t care. But I do.

So when I die, I want someone to patch things up with everyone – my blog should be properly shut down, my Facebook status would be “Amit Schreiber is dead” and an auto-reply email will be sent to everyone who tries to mail me (also – take me off mailing lists so that my mailbox won’t be filled up with them.) Not to mention handling my bank accounts and stuff like that.

All these require a person, who I trust, to handle. But I don’t want this person to have access to all my accounts right now. Only when I die. Which brings us to the basic usage scenario of my new website idea:

  1. Give an encrypted file to the website containing all the information you want someone to have when you die. Also, provide details of the person you trust (email address, basically.)
  2. Give the trusted person the instructions on how to open the file when he/she gets it.
  3. Die (how’s that for a sales pitch?)
  4. The person will request the file from the website. A notification email will be sent out to you to allow you to block the transfer in case you’re not really dead and the so-called trusted person is trying to get the file.
  5. Once a predefined period of time passed and you haven’t blocked the transfer, the website assumes you’re dead and sends the encrypted file to the trusted person.

This system keeps everyone honest: the website can’t do anything with an encrypted file and the trusted person can’t steel the file because you get notified about it (so you can block the transfer.) All that so you can die happily knowing your online presence is in good hands.

At first I told about it to just a few friends, most don’t think it’s useful because not too many people plan in advance for their deaths. That’s why I call the users of the website a niche market. I don’t exactly expect them to return either, if you know what I mean :) But then came this Slashdot article that states “A wave of new companies are springing up to offer such things as virtual cemeteries, alerts to remind loved ones about the anniversary of your death, and even email services that send an alert to your sinful relatives in danger of being left behind when the Rapture carries you away.” So now I want to implement it.

2 Replies to “Idea: Online Will”

Comments are closed.