Glenn Derene on what happens to all your digital data (specifically “cloud” data) when you die, this is what he recommends:

But for individuals the solution is simple, Davis says—include a digital will along with your regular will. Leave instructions for how to get to your digital assets and what to do with them. Then your online identity won’t end up in digital limbo.

This is something that has been troubling me for quite some time. When I die my computer effectively becomes useless to my family until they reformat it — everything is locked with a password that only I know. So what do I do? Well, in that case a digital will of sorts makes good sense — provide the password to my wife or next of kin after death and they can use my computer to get the info they want off of it.

The larger, and more troubling question, becomes what happens to, say, my websites? If I die presumably at some point my credit cards will be shut down and then Media Temple will get rather tired of hosting the site for what would amount to being “free”. I don’t want all my writing to disappear though, yet I don’t want to burden my survivors with the financial and technical responsibilities of keeping the sites going.

What do you do?

I don’t know, but if someone created a company that converted WP and other blogs into static HTML upon learning of someones death and just served that in perpetuity for a one time fee I would sign up. Perhaps it could even be paid for like insurance is, I pay in $5 a month and when I die they take the passwords and usernames from my digital will, convert TBR to static HTML and then host the archives forever.

The only problem is the domain and how you transfer all that and keep the domain alive.

Somebody needs to figure this out or we stand to lose great parts of the web as the web population ages and tragic deaths occur (as they so often do).

Posted by Ben Brooks