With the birth of our son a year and a half ago, my wife and I have started to take a look at “housekeeping” tasks that we didn’t really care about in the past. No, not cleaning floors or dusting lamps, but things like putting a Last Will and Testament in place and executing an Advance Directive to ensure our wishes are carried out if we’re no longer capable of making healthcare decisions.
During the process of writing the things out, I stumbled across additional question, including:
- Who takes care of our son if neither of us are able to do so?
- Who takes our pets if we cannot care for them?
- What happens to our possessions?
- What happens to our data footprint such as sensitive documents and other files stored on our computers or accounts in which personal data is stored?
As I drafted instructions for my executor to care for these things, I included a list of web accounts (email accounts, financial sites, etc.) that need to be closed/deleted if I were to die. This is a painful and daunting task as the steps are unclear on a lot of sites, but I found the site justdelete.me that helps with this process. There is also a pretty good list on the Everplan web site. Both include links and instructions to close accounts for common web sites. Pretty helpful. It probably wouldn’t be all that bad of an idea to go through all the site on which you have accounts annually and just do some general clean-up.
If you’re doing this as part of a Will, I’d also recommend including boilerplate language (e.g., “I’m an executor requesting the closure of an account for someone who is deceased..”) to help the person who is doing this for you.