Last Wishes: Eternal Life Online?
When people plan for their death, they make sure their homes, cars and money are left to someone. But what about their Facebook page?
Well, if they do want to make sure that someone can update their status or continue to post updates about the latest episodes of Lost or Battlestar Galactica, there's a new company that will help them do so. Legacy Locker Inc., based in San Francisco, is slated to launch their digital estate planning service in April.
"We see Legacy Locker filling a serious unmet need considering the modern, digital lifestyle," said Jeremy Toeman, founder of Legacy Locker, in a statement. "It's not fun to think about, but the reality is most Web-based companies have no provision for managing your account in the event of your passing. Further, when I think of the assets we create online these days like Flickr, my multiple email addresses, and my PayPal account, they have real, significant value to me and to my family."
And as social networks continue to gain furious momentum here in the U.S. and around the world, there are a lot of personal pages out there that will have to be dealt with someday.
Just yesterday, Nielsen Online reported that social networks, like Facebook and Myspace, have replaced e-mail as the fourth most popular online product. Social networking sites now are used by two-thirds of all online users worldwide.
Legacy Locker, which will work directly with consumers or with estate planners, notes on its web site that Toeman launched the business after the death of his grandmother, an avid e-mailer and online Bridge player. The family found that it had no way to access her accounts or respond to her emails.
Users can enter online account information, like logins and passwords to e-mail, photo sharing accounts or social networking sites, into their 'locker' and then assign each one a beneficiary. When the user dies, the information is digitally delivered to the appropriate beneficiary, according to the company.
Users also are able to leave what the company calls Legacy Letters, which will be sent to friends, family or co-workers upon their death.
The service is slated to launch in April. Legacy Locker noted that free trial accounts will be available, while paid programs will cost $29.99 per year or $299.99 for a lifetime.