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What happens when you die?
Sorry for being morbid, but this is a question that has intrigued me ever since I read about that "my last email" service. What happens when you die?

No, not that afterlife guff – I mean, what are you leaving behind and how do you control it in advance?

Are there messages you want people to receive? How do ensure the messages are sent? And prevent them from being discovered prematurely? Should your family get your data? Or should it die when you die? Do you host websites that your friends or colleagues won't be able to access when you're gone?

Every now and then this matter piques my interest and I start thinking that I should attend to the questions above. But I'm too lazy, so it's just as well I'm unlikely to die any time soon.

Do you have any plans in place, or thoughts on what those plans might be?

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I have often thought of writing letters to have included with my will - just to say a final farewell to some people, but it all seems too morbid.

I have had a friend state that one day they expect to turn up to a Freeform set at a funeral to find out that it was my funeral - but seriously, who would GM it?

Hmm, I (morbidly) wonder if there's a market for celebrants who can GM Freeform funerals...

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Great considered thoughts there.

On preventing premature access, I should have thought about a lawyer, and might have done so if I actually had a will in the first place. My thought was to put a tamper-evident envelope in my drawer at work. It can link to online files if required. Splitting a PGP passphrase over two envelopes is probably taking things to extremes.

As for data, I think the tricky thing is that there'll be some of each: data to discard and data to preserve. There'd also be grey area in between (I can't stop people using my computer when I'm gone), but data to discard can be encrypted now and the key not shared, whereas data to preserve needs to be put somewhere accessible. In my case, that would include info on services and accounts to access or close, plus information on how to handle websites left behind. For example, transferring control of the Hartwell website, leaving Flickr and LJ behind in archive form, closing or maintaining others.

As for external services (including domain registrations), it's a case by case thing: will they restrict access? hand it over as soon as someone claims you're dead? or have they not even had to deal with the issue yet?

Everyone you know gets drunk.

At least, that's what happened after the funeral I went to today.

Soo ... much ... alcohol.

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