Bequeath Your Facebook Account When You Die

Making contingency plans for the possibility of becoming incapacitated or for our inevitable demise is seldom a pleasant subject to discuss or even think about. Many people often postpone or even never get around to creating a living will or a last will and testament. For those that do, their concerns are usually focused on their quality of life, assigning guardianship for their children, and designating beneficiaries for their assets. That covers what to do when you are on life support, what happens to the kids, and who gets your stuff, but what about your "online assets"?

A new startup by the name of Legacy Locker, has created a service that allows you to pass on access to your "online assets" to designated beneficiaries when you die or when you are incapacitated. These online assets can be anything from access to your online banking and utility accounts to your e-mail and social networking accounts:

"Legacy Locker, the safe and secure way to pass online accounts to friends and loved ones... Legacy Locker is similar to an online safety deposit box that people use to store important online information, and allow beneficiaries to retrieve content in the event of a user's death or incapacitation."

Once you create an account on Legacy Locker, you then start adding "assets." These assets are the web addresses, usernames, and passwords for online sites you have accounts on. For each asset, you assign a beneficiary--you can assign different beneficiaries to different assets or the same beneficiary to multiple assets. You can add, delete, and edit these assets at any time. Legacy Locker states that entering the data onto the site, as well as how the data is stored is very secure:

"We use multiple 512-bit hash keys, based off different points, in combination with 256-bit encryption on the dataset. To increase the level of security the dataset is then encrypted over a thousand times. Hash keys are not stored in the database, so even in the event of a compromised database, your encrypted data is both secure and redundant. Data from the client computer is passed over 256-bit encrypted SSL into our own custom hashing system where it is immediately encrypted and then stored in our database."

When you create your account, you also designate two individuals as "verifiers." These are people who you trust, whom Legacy Locker will contact when it has received notification of your death or incapacitation. (Legacy Locker states: "Someone will have to report your name to our system as being deceased. As part of your paid account, you will receive a card directing any medical personnel or family members to contact Legacy Locker and 'Report a Death.'") Before Legacy Locker will release your assets to your beneficences, however, it needs to "have physical proof of your death in the form of a death certificate or medical examiner’s (ME) report."

In addition to storing your online assets in Legacy Locker's digital safety-deposit box, Legacy Locker also lets you leave "Legacy Letters" that are delivered after your death is confirmed. The company says it even plans on offering Legacy Videos at some point in the future.

Legacy Locker is scheduled to launch in April and will cost $29.99 per year or $299.99 for a lifetime membership. As to the true value of this service, that is up for debate. Some will likely see the benefit of having a centralized repository of access to their online assets as a comfort to their loves ones, while others will likely scoff at the concept. We're not certain how important it will be for your friends and family to have access to your Facebook account after you die, but certainly access to your e-mail and online backing can be beneficial. Of course, you could also just keep this information written down and kept in a secure location such as a physical safe-deposit account. Also, considering that the verification process requires either a death certificate or ME's report, getting access to the online assets after someone's death might be a time-consuming process.