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Arranging Electronic Access For Your Survivors? 335

Posted by timothy
from the leave-a-note-on-the-fridge dept.
smee2 writes "In the past, when a family member died, you could look through their files and address books to find all the people and businesses that should be notified that the person is deceased. Now the hard-copy address book is becoming a thing of the past. I keep some contact information in a spreadsheet, but I have many online friends that I only have contact with through web sites such as Flickr. My email accounts have many more people listed than my address book spreadsheet. I have no interest in collecting real world info from all my online contacts. The sites where I have social contact with people from around the world (obviously) require user names and passwords. Two questions: 1. How do you intend to let the executors of your estate or family members know which online sites/people you'd like them to notify of your demise? 2. How are you going to give access to the passwords, etc. needed to access those sites in a way that doesn't cause a security concern while you're still alive?"
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Arranging Electronic Access For Your Survivors?

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  • by Channard (693317) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:21PM (#25888009) Journal
    'To who it may concern. Please use the below username and password to inform the other posters at AlbinoAmazonAmputeeLovers.com of my sad demise.'
  • by Bigbutt (65939) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:22PM (#25888021) Homepage Journal

    I have a password keeper on my Palm and my Blackberry. At the moment, every password and game keycode are in the Palm but I need to export that out and into something similar on the computer so I can back it up.

    [John]

  • Very simple.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:23PM (#25888039) Journal

    a USB drive in the fireproof safe next to any important papers. Passwords for things they don't need to see are not on that drive. If you are worried even more, get a safety deposit box at the bank. Keep it updated and all will be ok. Then, on the other hand, some people don't care... the world can figure it out on their own.

    • Make sure that the safe is designed for electronic equipment. Long term exposure to heat makes bits want to dance around where as paper may be fine.

      • by Fizzl (209397)

        I'm renting a deposit box at a bank, and was surprised to find that the climate control at the boxes was worse than at the office part of the buiding. Hot and moist in the summer. Dry and cool in winter. I wonder if my precious moments video tapes are there any safer than my own desk drawer.

    • Re:Very simple.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by AioKits (1235070) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:40PM (#25888351)
      This is what my father did. USB stick, text file, safe deposit box, instructions I was to receive that upon his death. Text file had a list of user names and passwords, along with email addresses I was to contact. Simple and easy. Made dealing with the rest of the arrangements easier...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by schamarty (942187)

        Make it easier. The safe deposit box only contains a piece of paper with a master password.

        All the real passwords are in one text file that I randomly email people with instructions on how to get someone who knows Linux to open it (basically "openssl bf -d -a") once they have the password.

        True story: One day I was on a plane journey that almost didn't make it; just switched on my cell phone (couldn't have made things any worse, trust me!) and sms'd the password to my brother... [changed it afterwards when

    • Re:Very simple.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:06PM (#25888807)

      I keep a USB drive in my home safe with my death kit on it. I encrypt that, copy that to CD and send it to my lawyer every few months. My sealed Will (at a different attorneys office) has a copy of the decryption key in it, and the will includes instructions on accessing the data.

      I include the following:

      - Personal information
      -- Passwords file with usernames and passwords to all of the websites I use, personal computers and other electronic devices
      -- Accounts file with basic information to all of my financial accounts, morgtages, life insurance,
      -- Utilities file with all of the information about my utility services
      -- Export of my address book
      -- Death threats and persons of interest file (my work takes me to interesting places...)
      -- House book with things like the keycode for my house, and all of the other stuff related to my house that only exists in my head otherwise
      -- Auto book with copies of titles, etc
      -- Letters to send

      -Work file
      -- Current copies of all importiant work related papers
      -- Copy of my current Quickbooks file
      -- A write-up of what someone needs to do in my job, along with sugestions of who to assign.
      -- A copy of my personal file, complete with life insurance info
      -- A usernames file with all of the UID and Passwords for running my buisness
      -- A TO SHRED document, containing a list of files to be shredded upon my death

    • Re:Very simple.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:32PM (#25889181)

      Fire proof safes are often designed to protect paper by releasing foam that deprives the environment of oxygen necessary for it to burn. The internal temperature of the safe can and often does exceed several hundred degrees; Easily enough to destroy any electronic equipment. Check the design before you buy, or when you need it most you may find it was lacking.

      • by FLEB (312391) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @03:50PM (#25890229) Homepage Journal

        Okay, so here's what you do. You keep a padded, heat-resistant safe in an upstairs room of the house. Mount wheels on it, and place it on an inclined track, facing toward a pre-scored section of thinner wall. Rest it against a swing gate or chock held shut by a locking device made of lead. If your house starts on fire, the heat will melt the lead, the gate will open, and the safe will roll down the incline, bursting through the wall and landing safely in the yard, outside the major heat zone.

        Of course, you have the problem of your house becoming a flaming safe-launcher as well as being on fire... I'm sure that can all be worked out in the implementation.

    • Re:Very simple.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Omestes (471991) <omestes@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:45PM (#25889343) Homepage Journal

      Why would my relatives need to nose around my private data and accounts when I die? For bank accounts and such, there already is an apparatus to allow them access, and for most private/encrypted data there is no need for access.

      This is doubly true of email and online sites such as Slashdot. Unless I'm missing something.

      • by zappepcs (820751)

        You're not missing anything. Some people want their survivors to be able to access everything needed with the ease of logging on from home rather than presenting a death certificate to access the accounts. Some even think it would be nice to log on to hobby mail lists you might be active on and say a quick note that you wont' be back online etc. It's always up to you what you want your survivors to do for you when you are gone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kjella (173770)

        Why would my relatives need to nose around my private data and accounts when I die?

        In my opinion, that's the wrong question. My address book in on the phone which has a PIN and my computer's encrypted so only those that heard it from my closest family or my work group would know. All my friends would simply see the phone go unanswered, mails without reply but most wouldn't realize what had happened. They'd probably think I was mad at them or ignoring them or just too lazy to bother to check for such possibilities. I suppose my parents knows a few of my friends who'd know other friends and

    • Re:Very simple.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by HardCase (14757) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @04:06PM (#25890465)

      I've got a CD-RW in my safe deposit box at the bank. Whenever enough stuff changes, I just take a new one down and bring the old one back. There are instructions on the disc for what to do with the information - who to contact, what passwords go to which accounts, all that stuff. My mom and dad have done the same thing.

      One of the best things that you can do for those that you leave behind is to make your passing as easy as possible. Don't die and take the secrets that your family needs to get on with life to your grave. Unless you were a heartless bastard, they'll probably be upset enough that you're gone. No need to make it worse.

  • 1.) Isn't this what a will is for?

    2.) If you're really concerned about security, you could have the portion of the will that deals with passwords and such encrypted, and keep the encryption key in a different location or with a different agency, with instructions to each that the key is only to be used upon the event of your death.

  • Will (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gurps_npc (621217) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:25PM (#25888075) Homepage
    You write a will. Just as you list ALL financial accounts, you also list ALL social networking accounts. Including your passwords for these sites. Instruct your executor to email/post as you to all about your death. Yeah, I know, writing down passwords is not the brightest idea, but hey these are social networking accounts, not truly important things. I.E. Don't give out the key to your house, but do give out the key to your mailbox. Your account number and similar financial information that you have already given to your will is FAR more important. Therefore if you are trusting your executor with all that financial info, you should be able to trust them with a password. If you are truly paranoid, give them a key to a safe deposit box instead of your actual passwords, then keep a copy of the passwords in the safe deposit box.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's not the best idea to put user account information and passwords in a will. Once you die, your last will and testament will be filed in office of the clerk of the court, and then it becomes a public record, accessible to anyone who wishes to view it. Of course, your probate lawyer probably won't file the will immediately, so chances are that whoever is tasked with the responsibility to deal with the user accounts could change the passwords. (Whether it's legal to change the passwords after the owner's d

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gurps_npc (621217)
        Obviously you don't put it in the official will they file. Basically, it goes to your executor, just like the list of financial accounts. By "will" I meant 'the arrangements you made to deal with your estate', not the actual piece of paper. Four letters are shorter than a 9 word sentence.
    • So do I need to call my lawyer every time myspace makes me change my password from "password1" to "password2"?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by interiot (50685)
        Only put the master password in your will. Use the master password to encrypt a TrueCrypt or KeePass file that you frequently update and email the latest copy to executors.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by igb (28052)
      This may be one of those jurisdictional differences, but in what countries do will include an exhaustive list of bank accounts? Certainly not here in the UK, where aside from the large percentage of people who die intestate, a notorious problem for executors is dealing with the simple act of rounding up the deceased's assets.
  • It's usually a good idea to keep your passwords in a convenient application/file on your computer, but you should keep a hard copy backup somewhere safe, like your bank's safety deposit box. This would help in your scenario, as well as help the original owner out a lot in case they lose their password file for whatever reason.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:26PM (#25888101)

    I mean the guy is everywhere with the survivors... on the island, in the desert, etc. etc. If anyone can arrange electronic access for my Survivor TV show, it'll be Jeff.

    TDz.

  • keep an updated password list with your will in a safe and or in a safety deposit box.

    In lieu of keeping a hard and fast associative list (linking account name to account password) you could keep a list of your accounts on one list and supply a list of "commonly used passwords" and the executors can trial and error their way into your various accounts.

    Most of us only use 3-5 different passwords for everything, so the "commonly used passwords" thing would be an easy way around password changes/rotations and

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:27PM (#25888111)
    He passed away in August, bout 16 days after my birthday. A few months back when he was still within his wits, he sent me a text file called "Bob's favorite things.txt". In it was a list of sites with his user name and associated passwords with the instructions, "Please archive and terminate these after I'm gone. Notify any friends on this list of my passing." It wasn't the happiest email I ever received from him but I understood. Most were just social networking site stuffs, a few email addresses he kept, an FTP site to some of his attempts at digital photography and so on.

    Thankfully it was a small list and when he finally passed away I got on his laptop a few days later and followed his requests. Sent out emails to his contacts notifying them of what happened and that I will keep the accounts open for one month to await a response and provided a link to the obituary so that way they wouldn't have to search to confirm.

    Not sure if this answers your question but I guess when all else seems to complicated, just mail a text file to someone you trust.
    • I'm sorry about your loss.

      While a good suggestion in the cases where you know ahead of time that you'll soon be dead soon, it doesn't work.

      It can be adapted easily to unforeseen death, though: hide a slip of paper with the instructions on them inside your computer, and put in your will a request that someone takes apart your computer and follows the instructions. Include instructions for doing so ;)

  • Safety Deposit Box (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Psmylie (169236) * on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:27PM (#25888113) Homepage
    You can rent out a safety deposit box, leave your login details (websites to go to, userID/PW combo, what you want them to say, etc.) in there. Keep your key on you. When you die, your spouse or whoever will get the key and be able to retrieve that information.

    Obviously, if you change your passwords, you have to change what's in the safety deposit box, so there is some upkeep there.

    • Obviously, if you change your passwords, you have to change what's in the safety deposit box, so there is some upkeep there.

      Actually it can be easier than that. You just need to escrow one single key for decryption somewhere (on a USB key in a safe deposit box seems to be the popular choice).

      Then you can keep an encrypted list of passwords on your system and update them whenever you like, with no upkeep unless you decide to change the encryption. After death, the key is released to whoever, they decrypt your list, etc.

      There are already plenty of programs that can do this (AnyPassword is one for Windows that I'm aware of, althoug

  • BFF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kamokazi (1080091) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:29PM (#25888149)

    I'm relatively young, so I haven't put a lot of thought into this, but my best friend knows all the personal account names and passwords I use for everything. He would be able to get into any of my accounts with a few guesses. I don't have a comprehensive list of everything, but the main stuff would get worked out.

    And before you security nuts go crazy about telling other people your passwords, keep in mind this is a person I trust above anyone else...even my own close relatives. If I can't trust him, then I must live a truely miserable life of denial full of people who dislike me. I also don't tell him any of the admin passwords at work, as A) other people have acces to those, and B) They aren't my passwords to give out, even though I know he would do no harm (hell he'd probably manage the network better than half our admins...)

    Oh, I also know pretty much all his passwords too...so...yeah, he better not try anything :-)

    • Re:BFF (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vertinox (846076) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:08PM (#25888833)

      And before you security nuts go crazy about telling other people your passwords, keep in mind this is a person I trust above anyone else...even my own close relatives. If I can't trust him, then I must live a truely miserable life of denial full of people who dislike me.

      Not to burst your bubble, but have you ever considered your BFF might be tortured to have your passwords extracted from him?

      Not that you'd be keeping information that the CIA maybe interested in but honest and trustworthy people can be made to divulge information either through duress or intoxication.

      Its like giving your loved ones a bank account pin and someone holds them up at gunpoint and now they have to decide whether to break your trust or keep their lives. I personally don't like to let people deal with that scenario.

      Not that you or I have anything worth that valuable... But people have been beaten up over stupid things like account credentials to online games. Might as well not burden other people with it.

      • by Kamokazi (1080091)

        You've got a very good point...and if I had information that was either that valuable or could get me into that much trouble, I would probably seriously consider a different approach.

        Come to think of it, the security string on my Truecrypt volume I keep my tax records, paystub scans, and other personal info in has a long-ass security string that he wouldn't know. But he generally knows that stuff anyway...I just keep it that way just in case my PC ever got compromised.

        I'm not saying my 'strategy' is the wa

      • Re:BFF (Score:5, Funny)

        by Sneftel (15416) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @03:22PM (#25889859)

        I guess you aren't aware of the true meaning of BFF. I'm sure Kamokazi's friend would gladly die before giving out his Facebook password.

    • Re:BFF (Score:5, Funny)

      by BarryJacobsen (526926) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:48PM (#25889413) Homepage

      I'm relatively young, so I haven't put a lot of thought into this, but my best friend knows all the personal account names and passwords I use for everything. He would be able to get into any of my accounts with a few guesses. I don't have a comprehensive list of everything, but the main stuff would get worked out.

      And before you security nuts go crazy about telling other people your passwords, keep in mind this is a person I trust above anyone else...even my own close relatives. If I can't trust him, then I must live a truely miserable life of denial full of people who dislike me. I also don't tell him any of the admin passwords at work, as A) other people have acces to those, and B) They aren't my passwords to give out, even though I know he would do no harm (hell he'd probably manage the network better than half our admins...)

      Oh, I also know pretty much all his passwords too...so...yeah, he better not try anything :-)

      You really expect us to believe that? How do we know this isn't him posting?

  • by GMonkeyLouie (1372035) <{gmonkeylouie} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:30PM (#25888175)

    I've notified all of my Myspace friends that if they don't hear from me for a 48 hour period, it is likely that I am dead and they should just assume that is the case.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's not a lot of ways to die that would kill me so fast I couldn't send a Tweet about it, seeing as I am most likely in the middle of sending one anyway. Just in case, my cell phone knows that if I don't press any buttons for 3 whole minutes, it should post my "final_tweet.txt" file. It is a brief notice that I have just died, and a lengthy poetic tribute to all of my most loved Facebook apps.

  • TrueCrypt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chinakow (83588) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:31PM (#25888191)
    Write everything important in a TrueCrypt file system, email it to those who you would want to have it. Then pay for a safe deposit box, in the box put the password(and keyfiles as you see fit). The executor of your estate will be able to gain access to the box and if you add them as a signer it would be trivial, just don't let them have the key until you are dead.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cbciv (719774)

      Write everything important in a TrueCrypt file system, email it to those who you would want to have it. Then pay for a safe deposit box, in the box put the password(and keyfiles as you see fit). The executor of your estate will be able to gain access to the box and if you add them as a signer it would be trivial, just don't let them have the key until you are dead.

      Note that how easily the executor can gain access to the box, even if they are a signatory, will depend on the laws of the jurisdiction. Check with an estate attorney before putting anything in the box that would be needed soon after your death.

  • That's an interesting question, and a difficult one.

    I'd suggest putting instructions in a letter, including necessary passwords and so on, and protect it with a password that should be easy to guess for someone close to you.

    Or leave a file with the passwords on your computer or on a usb key, and put the password to access it in your will. Sure that's rather low security theoretically, but if you make it clear in your will that the password releases only contact information, who would bother trying to ac
  • I'm going to have the executor of my will put posts up on websites that I frequent with a link to a streaming video of my funeral. That way no one will give my executor that whole "pic's or it isn't real" response.
  • .. or would anyone else doubt the supposed claim of a person's death. I know there's been several cases where someone online has supposedly posted their death, just to create drama and attention, only for it to be later revealed they're alive and well? Certainly on networking sites, at least.
    • by compro01 (777531)

      Countermeasure - Have them (executor of your estate or whoever you are having do the announcing) include a link to the obituary in the local paper.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DeadManCoding (961283)
      Make sure the survivor leaves a link to the obituary for the local paper, you'd have to go thru too much trouble to fake that one. At least that's what I'd do.
      • by AioKits (1235070)
        DeadManCoding is correct. Look for the obit in the local paper. Most obits also list the funeral home that will be providing the services as well as a location where the body will be put to rest (if this was their option, cremation makes things harder). The funeral home will have a record if the services (IE, they received the person) were performed there. They would also know how to find out where said person is buried. I do not know because I think this varies state to state, but...The fact of death
      • by compro01 (777531)

        I presume you have experience in these matters. ;)

  • by kcitren (72383) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:47PM (#25888501)
    This was actually part of a business idea of mine about 8 years ago. A type of death notification service. The idea was that you'd periodically give the service an updated list of people you'd like contacted if you die, along with any special messages / instructions (within reason). The company would know where you live (city and state at a minimum), and would do a daily check of the obituaries / death notices / etc. If you came up potentially dead, the company would attempt to contact you. Assuming you're dead, the messages would be sent out as requested. This is a great idea for people who have many online or non-local contacts, secret second families, etc.
    • I recently read about justincaseidie.com, which offers a simple digital notification service. From their website:

      ... in just a few clicks, you can save a message that will only be sent to it's intended recipient if you die. Well...almost. It will actually only be sent if you fail to log back in to the system within the timeframe that you set, we're just sort of assuming that only death would stop you doing this.

  • Easy (Score:3, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745) <(dadinportland) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:50PM (#25888557) Homepage Journal

    Use a password vault, leave the password to the password vault in your will.
    Next.

  • Survivors? (Score:5, Funny)

    by ChinggisK (1133009) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:51PM (#25888567)
    I don't plan on leaving any survivors. I plan on taking everyone out in one fell swoop.
    • I don't plan on leaving any survivors. I plan on taking everyone out in one fell swoop.

      [Insert joke here about tripping over one's shoelaces]

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      The frightening thing is you are modded interesting..

      Some sick and twisted people here.

      I went further. The rings on my and my wifes hands together make up the encryption key to access the file I have of all my usernames and passwords on a thumbdrive in the safe. the combination to the safe is inside the ring on my and her rings.

      The celtic runes when translated to english = the 25 character passphrase that decrypts the data.

      works great and the kids and everyone else knows this. Although my mother told me

      • are you kidding? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by way2trivial (601132) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @03:01PM (#25889579) Homepage Journal

        I can't even think how long the list of possible 'failure points' to your system.

        you go missing- airplane crash- fall under a road paver- into a wood chipper- vat of acid- really unlucky gun shot while you were holding out your hands begging for your life...

        You have to be freaking kidding if that is your i'm dead- you are covered methodology.

        it'd be like having your life insurance policy in your wallet at all times.

        • by Zenaku (821866) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @04:06PM (#25890485)

          Don't worry -- in the event that his ring is lost, the secret chamber behind the bookshelf in the study contains a handwritten journal, containing the account of the time his arch-nemesis attempted to steal the ring and ended up with the celtic ruins burned into the skin of his left hand, along with seven riddles that, when solved, reveal the nemesis's identity. His family need only to find the secret chamber by pulling on the tail of the bronze monkey statue (you can't miss it, the framed portrait of Napoleon hanging on the wall opposite is looking directly at it) and they will be set on an exciting quest to track down the dark stranger and recover the ruins by dusting for handprints on his cane.

      • by Zordak (123132)
        So what you're saying is, One Ring to rule them all...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by vishbar (862440)

        The frightening thing is you are modded interesting..

        Some sick and twisted people here.

        I went further. The rings on my and my wifes hands together make up the encryption key to access the file I have of all my usernames and passwords on a thumbdrive in the safe. the combination to the safe is inside the ring on my and her rings.

        The celtic runes when translated to english = the 25 character passphrase that decrypts the data.

        works great and the kids and everyone else knows this. Although my mother told me to stop playing spy and rolled her eyes at me.

        I don't know whether to be shocked that you got married or joyous at the beacon of hope that women exist on Earth who will incorporate encryption keys onto their matrimonial bands...

  • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @01:56PM (#25888639)

    Incidentally, related questions have been the topic of previous "Ask Slashdot" stories:

    What Does Your Dead Man's Switch Do [slashdot.org]

    Your Digital Inheritance [slashdot.org]

    What Happens To Your Data When You Die [slashdot.org]

    I think the take-home message from most of those discussions is that you need to make preparations. Just like with everything else in your life, you should ideally keep things organized enough so that your survivors can deal with it, both in terms of wrapping up your estate, and keeping the things that matter. So this means keeping a list of passwords and encryption keys somewhere (e.g. in a safe deposit box), and even instructions about what to do with various accounts. Your data should also be organized so that your family can make copies of things like photos and find nostalgic things that you've written.

    Another point to consider is the things that you don't want your survivors seeing. If you have any secrets you want to take to your grave, be sure to encrypt them. And for the sake of your children's sanity, hide your porn! (Or label it so they can avoid it!)

  • (1) Include your BIOS/OS login password is included in your will.
    (2) write an email announcing your untimely demise in an email, and save the draft. (include all of your online buddies that you would want to know as a BCC)
    (3) inform next-of-kin of this draft and you desire to have it sent.

    I have used the 'net for many years (my first ICQ account started with a 2, and my /. account was 5 digits {but I forgot the password on that one}) and of all the 'social' sites that I visit I am most active on Slashdot.

  • by KevMar (471257) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:01PM (#25888719) Homepage Journal

    Sometimes is ok to just let the account expire.

    If its someone important, they will find out your dead from loved ones or other connections. If its some random person you met on the internet, do they realy need to know? While social networking is all the buz, is that the best place to tell someone about a persons death?

    • by JSBiff (87824)

      It's true, some accounts you would probably just let die with you. But there are other things which are more important. I don't think I would have /. notified if I died, because I'm not important enough around here for anyone to care, but, you know, maybe if I was involved in an online gaming clan/guild, I might want them notified when I passed. Perhaps if I was the maintainer for an open source software program, it might be good to notify the users and/or upstream maintainers (e.g. if a Debian package main

    • by AragornSonOfArathorn (454526) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @04:33PM (#25890889)

      When I die, I plan to have a bot that pretends to be me maintain communications with all the "internet randoms" I know. If the bot gives odd responses to their comments, they'll probably just assume I'm drunk.

  • Make it easy (Score:5, Informative)

    by a9db0 (31053) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:09PM (#25888847)

    To your will (you do have a will, don't you?) attach a printed list of user id/passwords for websites, email accounts, etc. Update semi-annually. Also useful is a financial disclosure listing all of your bank accounts, utility accounts, mortgage information, credit cards, etc. Add a note with the location of your KeePass database (or equivalent), and the master password for it. File all of this (in paper and electronic form) in a very safe but accessible location - a home safe, a lawyer's office, a bank's trust office. DO NOT PUT IT IN YOUR SAFE DEPOSIT BOX. If you are deceased the bank is not supposed to grant access to anyone until your estate is in probate, which will be tough if your will's in the box.

    The reason you need the lists in paper form is that you cannot be sure of the technical skill or emotional state of those who will be dealing with the aftermath of your death.

  • Before we start the flames about Orson Scott Card -- in one of the Ender's Shadow books, one of the characters (not going to say which, for the obvious spoilers), was revealed to have a system where that if they didn't do something every day, it would e-mail a message.

    This seems like a rather trivial thing -- you can store it PGP encrypted, and keep it updated as information changes, but only gets sent out when you don't do some specified task. Of course, if you ever go on vacation where you don't have int

  • 1. How do you intend to let the executors of your estate or family members know which online sites/people you'd like them to notify of your demise?

    In your will.

    2. How are you going to give access to the passwords, etc. needed to access those sites in a way that doesn't cause a security concern while you're still alive?

    By leaving your will with your lawyer.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:41PM (#25889295)

    Kill yourself in such a spectacular fashion that it will make the rounds on the net. Then anyone you would have wanted to inform about your demise would see the video, say "Oh, that's so you," and thus be informed.

  • When I die, there will be no survivors left. The walking undead don't count and have no need for my data, they will have already eaten my brain.

  • The Vault-Tec Corporation will be providing them all with Pip-Boy 3000s. We were talking about surviving nuclear war, right?

  • Facebook (Score:5, Funny)

    by COMON$ (806135) * on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:54PM (#25889473) Journal
    Just put in my will: Please update my facebook status....question being, what would it say...? "Joe is wormfood, see ya soon".
  • by gigne (990887) on Tuesday November 25, 2008 @02:54PM (#25889475) Homepage Journal

    I thought about this a couple of years ago when I had a health scare, this is what I came up with.

    USB stick (or whatever it will be in x years) in a safe at home.
    I have a paper will, with the usual stuff, plus an email address, and what to write in the subject and body.
    The person that receives my will is instructed to email this address upon my death.
    I have a rule on my mail account that matches the specified text in the email.
    This email then triggers a whole load of actions:
    Unsubscribes from mailing lists.
    *Emails a personal message to people on my contact list.
    *Sends an email with the relevant passwords to the relevant people.
    *Sends an email with my finances, spreadsheets, important information to the sender.
    *Sends an encrypted key to specified person which can access my harddisk.
    *sends a list of things to shred!

    This pretty much covers everything I need, including getting the relevant passwords to the right people, and auto emailing a personalised message to my contacts.

  • Old people have easy to guess passwords.
    Typically, the old people /.ers deal with are their parents. /.ers will often already know their parents' passwords.

    What makes you think you'll be any different when you're old? Those whippersnappers will have some newfangled gadget you won't understand, and they'll be using it on YOUR lawn.

    In the case of unexpected death - who cares?
    99.9% of people don't have anything important.
    For the few that do, they have lawyers that can wrangle online accounts.

    Encrypted data sh

  • I have the same setup Jason Wynn had in the movie adaptation of Spawn. Except, instead of releasing a deadly virus when my heart stops, it releases my usernames and passwords.
  • Is /. trying to tell us something?

  • How about a nice video that Adrian Chen did for his own death:

    http://vimeo.com/1417352 [vimeo.com]

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