Top 5 things to do about your tech before you die

What happens to your accounts when you leave this world? Tom Merritt tells us what we need to know.

Things to know about your tech before you expire: Top 5

Listen, nobody wants to think about when they'll die. But it's better to do a few things to plan for it now. Better late than never, right? 

And I'm not talking about inheritances and life insurance and such, though those are important. What about your email? Your passwords? Tech can make things difficult for your family after you're gone.

Here are five things to do about your tech before you die. 

  1. Name a digital executor. This is for deciding who gets access to your accounts and photos and files. The normal executor of a will might be able to administer your digital assets but making it explicit will make sure they can. And you may want a different person with a better sense of the intricacies of technology than the person who decides who gets your stocks.
  2. Name a digital heir. The executor is there to handle disputes and anything that isn't already covered. But if you know you want your spouse to get the photos and email access, you can add that to a will. You can also add these to online tools like Facebook's legacy contact and Google's Inactive Account Manager. 
  3. Take an inventory. What do you want to make sure others have access to? Cloud accounts? Email? Twitter? PayPal? Multifactor codes? It will be hard to figure out how someone can take care of your digital assets if you don't know what they are.
  4. Plan for passing on your passwords. Maybe set up a password manager. Many let you set up an emergency contact who gets access after a waiting period. There are also some specialty services that can handle this, too. And make sure you include access to any multifactor authentication apps or code generators. 
  5. Consider making a "final post." Yes it can be a video where you say the classic movie line, "If you're seeing this, I'm dead." Or it could just be a final Facebook post. It's your call. But these could be your real last words. 

Yes, thinking about these things can be morbid. But it's the kind of planning that will make things easier on your friends and family and not something that is yet as widely considered as it might be. 

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By Tom Merritt

Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, coverin...