Do you have any online friends? I know I do. I have some friends that I’ve chatted with on message boards for years. Some of these friends I have met in real life, others I have talked to on the phone, but most of the time, I just know them online. Many people today have friends that they chat with on message boards, via private messages, on Facebook, or in online games. Sometimes these friends drift away for a while, others move on to other interests. What would happen if one of these friends died? Would you know? Would your online friends know if you died? As more of us have more online friends, the need to find a way to notify them becomes more important. There are a few ways to ensure that your online friends know if you die.
Option 1: Create a List to Notify People
If you want your online friends to know of your death, you can create a list of the internet sites that you frequent. Include the web site address, what name the community knows you by, and how to log in to inform your friends of your demise. If the web site allows people to create a free account, they can do that, otherwise, you will have to leave your user name and password as well. For online role playing games, keep a list of guilds that you belong to and character names that you play. Also add to the list email addresses of friends that you keep in touch with via email. Tell a trusted real-life friend where you keep this list, and let them know that you are asking them to do this for you. The next time you draw up a will, you could even add this information to your will. This could be a task that you leave to the executor of your will.
Option 2: Hire a Company to Inform People
If you don’t want to make a list, or you don’t have a trusted real life friend to leave this information with, you can hire a company to inform the people that you care about that you die.
One of these companies is Deathswitch.com. Deathswitch is a company that will send out death emails to different people if you don’t log in at regular intervals (you can specify how often you plan to log in). The drawback to this company is if you go on vacation or can’t log in for an extended period of time for some reason, your friends might end up getting emails telling them that you’ve died, even if you are still alive.
Another service, Slightly Morbid, doesn’t require that you log in on a frequent basis. You leave instructions with your important papers to log into the site and trigger the death notification. This company also offers a service that will inform your friends if you get in a car accident or are okay after a natural disaster.
In April, a company called Legacy Locker will open. This company has a similar premise, only it will need official documentation (like a death certificate) and will contact two real-life verifiers before it sends out the notification.
Death Comes to All
Whether you hire a company or use a trusted friend to notify others that you have died, informing your online friends of your death should be part of your estate plan. I have had online friends die before; in all the cases that I have found out about it, a relative posted onto the bulletin board that they had been posting to about what happened to them. While death is not something that we like to think about, it is something that we need to think about and plan for.If you die, would you want your online friends to know what happened to you?There are companies that can inform others of what happened to you.You could also create a list to let a trusted friend inform others that you died.I have known online friends that died, and their spouses posted what happened onto bulletin boards.http://www.slightlymorbid.com/http://www.deathswitch.com/http://www.legacylocker.com/