It's increasingly important to leave family with access to your online life, but organizing your virtual assets presents some hurdles.
In the morning, many of us reach first for our screens. We check our phones before we get out of bed. We scroll through our inbox before we have a coffee. Our News Feed, our Twitter feed, it's all part of the standard morning routine.
In fact, it's pretty hard to picture a normal workweek, let alone a life, without emails, status updates, and Amazon purchases. But have you ever thought about what happens to all of your accounts when that inevitable day comes, and you can't log onto them yourself anymore?
Well, Washington thinks it's time to take the problem seriously. As Facebook rounds the billion-user mark, the Feds have stepped up to the plate with a formal policy about America's online profiles. On April 26th, the government added creating "a social media will" to their list of official personal finance recommendations. USA.gov advises folks to appoint someone they trust as an online executor, and to hand over all passwords and a clear statement about how you'd like each of your accounts handled after your death.
For instance: would you like your Timeline to end when you do (in which case, you better leave that online executor clear instructions to close the account)? Or, would you rather have your profile "memorialized" -- Facebook-speak for an account that lives on, so friends can periodically post messages about how much they miss you? (Twitter currently allows family members to remove a person's account with proper proof of their death, but declined to comment further on anything relating to social media wills or the death of Twitterers).