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Anne R. Allen's Blog


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Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, July 19, 2015

What Happens to Your Blog when You Die? Why You Need to Appoint a Social Media Executor NOW

by Anne R. Allen

One of my blogger friends died last week. Ann was a regular commenter here from the beginning and often gave me suggestions for blog topics (she commented as "Churadogs".) Her own blog, Calhoun's Cannons, grew out of a local newspaper column. It's smart and funny and fierce and full of the down-and-dirty info on local politics.

Her illness, pancreatic cancer, is a ruthless killer. It sneaks up so fast that a diagnosis is usually a death sentence. Ann was diagnosed less than two months ago. Her last blogpost was on June 17th. It makes me cry when I look at it. Her family and friends are dealing with all the chaos that happens when a life is cut short without much warning.

So what will happen to Ann's blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts? Without passwords and usernames to log in, her heirs could be facing a host of problems.

It turns out social media is crammed with dead people. Senior Planet reported in 2012 that three Facebook users die every minute. The number is probably bigger now.

And bad things can happen to dead people on Facebook...or any other social media site

I'm more amazed by the savagery on the Internet every day. As I said two weeks ago, it's time for governments and big tech companies to do more to curtail rampant bullying. "Freedoms" should apply to all of us, not just sociopaths. I'm so glad to see that Reddit is finally cleaning up its act: this week the new CEO banned illegal activity on the site. Good for him!

But there's a horrible thing called RIP trolling where bands of bullies deface the pages and accounts of people who have died for the sheer "lulz" of torturing the bereaved.

Any untended blog will also attract endless spam invitations to meet hot Russian women, buy fake college papers, and enlarge your penis. Most of us would prefer not to have that as our legacy. So now is the time to act if you don't want your cyber-remains to haunt the Interwebz forever.

Don't Become a Social Media Ghost.

Yes, I know younger people don't think this applies to them. I was a firm believer in my own immortality until I was at least forty. But even young, healthy people get in accidents or are struck by sudden illnesses.

Not a nice thought, but it happens. Consider author-blogger Mac Tonnies, who updated his blog one night in 2009, went to bed and died of cardiac arrhythmia. He was 34. His blog, Posthuman Blues, is still just as he left it.

The thread of comments is heartbreaking—first expressions of annoyance from his regular followers about his lack of updates, then rumors, then the death announcement, then poignant memorials, then…spam. One friend posted a final comment in August of 2014, letting people know the blog had been turned into a book. Then the comments drift off into more sad spam. Without his password, nobody can delete the spam, and his digital remains may hang in limbo as long as there is an Internet.

The Internet is crowded with ghosts like Mr. Tonnies.

I've read sad tales of young people who have died suddenly whose social media accounts stay open forever, not just attracting those disgusting trolls, but reminding friends daily of their loss as posts on the page of the deceased keep appearing in their news feed. 

An article at Mashable told of one young woman who lost her best friend, and after getting "updates" from her friend's "ghost" for months finally had to unfriend her.

Make Sure Somebody You Trust Has Access to Your Book Accounts, Too.

All of this is more complicated if you've got published books as well.

Heirs may have to deal with Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, Audible, Wattpad, Goodreads, and other accounts as well.

This is what I confronted when my mom died. My mom developed dementia in her last year of life—but she was so clever, she hid it from us for months. But the one thing she could not do was remember passwords. I realized how bad things were when she stopped answering my emails. And she had to give up her computer entirely when she went into assisted living, because she couldn't remember how to log on.

In the huge work of moving her things and selling her house, none of us thought to look for her list of passwords. And if we'd found it, most of them would probably have been out of date because she kept changing them in those last weeks.

After she died, I had to do a lot of searching around to figure out how close down her FB, Goodreads, and Twitter accounts without her passwords. I did find it could be done on many sites—but not all—armed with her death certificate and obituary and proper identification.

Some sites were very accommodating, but Nook has steadfastly refused to take down her account and keeps sending money to a non-existent bank account. (Although they allowed me to put her book in my account as well, so there are now two accounts for her on Nook.) 

Nobody knows where the money from her first account goes, but Barnes and Noble notifies the IRS of her "income" every year, which means we cannot close out her estate. Their rule is that an account must be closed from the email address used to open the account, with "no exceptions." Funny how a dying company won't allow its customers to die.

But hassles like this can be avoided with digital and social media executors. 

The Digital Executor

"Digital executor" is a legal term that's accepted in some states but not all. If you have a will, you can get your lawyer to add a codicil to your will with the extra info. If your regular executor can be your digital executor as well, you have no problem.

But if your heirs are not tech-savvy, you need to appoint somebody who is.

A digital executor needs to deal with all your online financial stuff, like—

  1. Collecting your intellectual property—online written material, music files, photos, videos, and other online content—and transferring it to your heirs. 
  2. Closing online banking and shopping accounts. 
  3. Deleting files from your computer or other devices, or erasing devices' hard drives 
  4. Closing or maintaining online accounts like web hosting services 
  5. Closing down subscription services and other accounts that are paid for (like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime) and/or transferring accounts to your heirs 
  6. Transferring any income-generating items (your book retailer accounts, plus websites, blogs, affiliate accounts, etc.) to your heirs 
  7. Closing down your social media accounts and notifying online groups of your death. 

You can find further information and even a downloadable worksheet at a site called Everplans. They have a planning tool that guides you through the process of creating, storing, and sharing everything your heirs will need.

You can also make things much easier for your executor if you use something called PasswordBox which you can download for free.

Everybody needs somebody to do this for them in the digital age, but it's a more complicated business than a simple social media executor.

The Social Media Executor

Social media executors don't have to deal with anything financial the way a digital executor does. Basically they just do #7 on the list above.

They only need your social network usernames and passwords so they can protect your blog and social media accounts and notify online friends of your death.

This can include all the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest etc. as well as online gaming sites and forums.

You can appoint a social media executor informally without going through a lawyer. And I urge you to do so. Now. Don't put it off.

But, for those of you who have lost a loved one who did not save information for a social media executor, here's how you get accounts deleted—

How to Memorialize and/or Delete a Facebook Page

Facebook is definitely the most user-friendly site for heirs. Their policy is to memorialize a deceased user’s page for the benefit of the survivors. People can post their condolences, for example, or share photos. 

  • Memorializing a page requires proof of death via an online obituary.
  • Taking down a page requires a death certificate and proof of identity from the legal heir, 
  • Deal with your Facebook legacy right now and make things easy for everybody. FB has made it easy for you. Go to your "Settings" page, choose "Security" and "Legacy Contact." There you can name a Facebook friend to be your account's caretaker. You can also choose if you want this person to be able to download content from your page. Or, you can simply check a box that tells FB to delete your account when you kick the bucket.

How to Close a Twitter Account

Twitter does not memorialize accounts. If you don't have access to the account via password, an executor has to contact Twitter Security via snail mail, at:

Twitter, Inc.
c/o: Trust & Safety

1355 Market St., Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94103

  • The username of the deceased (e.g., @username or twitter.com/username) 
  • A copy of the deceased’s death certificate 
  • A copy of your government-issued ID (like a driver’s license) 
  • Your full legal name 
  • Your email address 
  • Your current contact information 
  • Your relationship to the deceased user or their estate 
  • Action requested (e.g., ‘please deactivate the Twitter account’) 
  • A brief description of the details that evidence this account belongs to the deceased, if the name on the account does not match the name on death certificate. 
  • A link to an online obituary or a copy of the obituary from a local newspaper 

How to Delete an a Goodreads Author Account

An executor will usually want to delete an active author account, but keep the books and their reviews on site. If you have no access to the account, contact a Goodreads librarian and attach a copy of the death certificate as well as proof of your identity and relationship to the deceased.

How to Transfer an Amazon Account

In order to transfer my mom's account to my name, I contacted Amazon through Author Central with the same data I gave Goodreads. If you're not an Amazon author, this will probably be more difficult, but I found the people at Author Central very accommodating. They even offered to fold her books into my account. 

If you're an heir, you'll want to keep KDP and CreateSpace accounts active and transfer the income to the estate. If you have an Amazon buying account of your own, make sure you use that email address to contact Amazon with the proper information. 

Again, passwords will help a lot.

Closing Down Google Plus and YouTube Accounts

I have not been able to find a contact address for Google, so this is a tough one. I've read you need to provide Google with an email from your loved one's Google-related email address to prove that you knew each other, plus a copy of the death certificate. This should allow you to get an account deleted. But sometimes Google people are very difficult and require a court order, according to Senior Planet

So make sure you give your executor those usernames and passwords, okay? Otherwise, the chances are good you'll be a Google Ghost for eternity.

I don't know about Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, etc, but I assume the problems will be similar. Give somebody those passwords! 

What About Blogs?

There's not yet a standardized system for dealing with blogs once we’ve gone home to the Great Social Network in the Sky. That means that unless you've got a designated blog executor, your blog could hang forever in cyberspace like Posthuman Blues, especially if it's a Google (Blogger) blog.

Melissa Ford at Stirrup Queens posted a great list of things to do to insure that doesn't happen.

She suggests you make a "Password Passbook" for your social media executor and heirs. She advises you to make this in hard copy only, because a hacker can find a file by searching for "passwords". (Or you could label them "fishcakes" or some code only you and your executor will understand.) 

She suggests a simple handmade document with three columns listing for each site:
  1. Site name 
  2. Username 
  3. Password 
Then put this in a safe place with your other important documents and snail mail a copy to your social media executor. And remember to update it every six months or so as you change passwords and add or delete accounts.

She also reminds people to put in writing which sites you want kept up and which you want taken down and where you'd like to post the announcement of your death.

If you don't want to go the low-tech route, you can download a free Excel Worksheet for a "social media will" at Dead Social.

If you save it on your computer, give it a name that doesn't use the word "password". And also print out hard copies and put them in a safe, but prominent place. Don't make your heirs go on a fishing expedition in your computer files. 

What if You Want To Leave Your Blog Up as a Memorial?

Of course some people want their blogs and social media pages to stay online after they are gone. But you still need to plan for that, so your blog doesn't become a billboard for spam. 

It is possible to leave your blog up if you have a social media executor. Friends of the departed (fictional) Miss Snark have sustained her blog for agent-seekers in the "Snarkives"  for nearly ten years. They have disabled comments, but her executor, "Miss Adventure" will still answer questions via email.

You can also prepare a message for your loved ones to be displayed after your death on your social media pages at a site called "Dead Social," which also has a lot of other great info on digital legacies. 

You can even record a video message to be posted on your Facebook page after you go at ifIdie.net (Warning, it opens with an annoying voice over, so don't click on it if you're at work or the baby is sleeping.)

A Special Note to Writers in the Query or Submission process

If you’re in the query process, it’s also a good idea to let your executor know where to find the list of your outstanding requested manuscripts and story submissions.

A quick email from  your executor to the agents or editors who are reading a writer's material would not only be kind, but it might even make it possible for a story or book to be published posthumously. (If we can judge by Steig Larssen’s phenomenal success, being deceased might even be a good career move.)

Your Digital Legacy

Nobody likes to think about shuffling off one’s mortal coil, but we all need to have a plan in place.

The subject of our digital legacies was addressed several years ago by Evan Carroll and John Romano in their book, Your Digital Afterlife. And they were responsible for getting sites like Facebook and Twitter to allow accounts to be deleted by heirs. The book has been updated since then and they also have lots of valuable information at their website, the Digital Beyond.

Adele McAlear is a blogger who focuses on the electronic remains the modern human leaves behind. On her blog, Death and Digital Legacy she offers excellent tips on how heirs can deal with social media and she also curates articles on digital estates.

Digital Legacies are now becoming big business. This year, the first Digital Legacy Conference was held in London.

Make sure you protect your own legacy by appointing an executor. Now.

What about you Scriveners? Have you thought about what will happen to your social media accounts when you die? Do you have a social media executor? Does your family know about all your social media accounts? Have you provided for distribution of your intellectual property in your will? 

You can read an interview with me at You Read it Here First, I'm talking with Debbie McClure about my new Camilla comedy, So Much for Buckingham as well as self-vs-trad publishing and many other aspects of the writerly life.

A note to friends of Ann Calhoun: A potluck and celebration of Ann's life will be held at the South Bay Community Center - 2180 Palisades Avenue in Los Osos on Saturday, August 1, 2015 from 2-6 pm - everyone is invited - please bring your favorite dish and memories and stories of Ann, who left this earth way too early!


Academic Body, a cozy campus mystery my mom wrote when she was in her 80s, lives on and is still selling well. 

Right now, it's only 99c at Amazon, Kobo, iTunes and Nook (if you land on a page where it costs more at Nook, you've reached the old account they won't delete, so be sure to use this link.)

Retired theatrical director Paul Godwin longs for the quiet life of a college professor, but can he woo his famous wife away from the New York stage to become part of his academic life in small-town Maine? Not easily, especially after the dean accuses him of having a fling with a student and then is found dead in circumstances that make Paul a prime suspect in the investigation.

Paul's efforts to discover the real culprit provoke dangerous reprisals, but he must succeed to save his new career, his marriage - and perhaps his life.

I love the sensual aspects of this novel, the circumspect but highly charged sexual chemistry between the couple, the fact that they're not above tippling a bit and enjoying gourmet meals prepared mostly by Paul himself for the woman he loves...Sue McGinty, author of the Bella Kowalski mysteries.


BARTLEBY SNOPES CONTEST   $10 FOR UNLIMITED ENTRIES. Compose a short story entirely of dialogue. Must be under 2,000 words. Your entry cannot use any narration (this includes tag lines such as he said, she said, etc.). These are the only rules. 5 finalists will also appear in Issue 15 of the magazine. Last year they awarded $2,380 in prize money. Deadline September 15.

Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers  Entry Fee $15. A prize of $1,500, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of the prize issue is given quarterly for a short story by a writer whose fiction has not been published in a print publication with a circulation over 5,000. Using the online submission system, submit a story of 1,200 to 12,000 words. Deadline August 31. 

Creative Nonfiction magazine is seeking new essays for an upcoming issue dedicated to MARRIAGE. TRUE STORIES about marriage from any POV: happy spouses, ex-fiancees, wedding planners, divorce attorneys, whoever. Up to 4000 words. $20 Entry fee. $1000 first prize. Deadline: August 31. 

CRAZYHORSE SHORT-SHORT FICTION AWARD $15 Entry fee.  $1,000 and publication. Three runners-up. All entries considered for publication. Submit one to three short-shorts of up to 500 words each. Deadline July 31.

DIABOLICAL PLOTS  NO FEE. A new online journal that publishes original fiction, one story per month. Genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror (everything must have speculative element, even horror). 2000 word limit. Pays .06 cents/word. Deadline July 31.

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Blogger Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This is such important information. Thank you so much! I've bookmarked this. I've talked to my husband, and he has a copy of all my passwords (hard copy only), and they are also "coded" so that if someone found it, they wouldn't know what to do. Meanwhile, I want to re-read this several times and start taking proactive measures on some of the more complex issues. Thanks again. I'm also posting this on my FB and tweeting it.

July 19, 2015 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Elizabeth--Thanks for spreading the word! It's so important. This is all such a new world for most of us. We didn't grow up thinking in terms of digital property, so it's not in the general consciousness. .

July 19, 2015 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

If I disappear and don't reply to comments today, it may be that we have lost power. We're in the middle of a wild and crazy freak thunderstorm--the kind that never happens on the Central Coast--especially in the summertime. But it's bringing buckets of much needed rain, so losing power will be a small sacrifice if it happens.

July 19, 2015 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Wm. L. Hahn said...

Hah! Good to know Anne, that last comment and all the posts you make. I so hugely hate the subject today but there's no denying its importance. I'll have to have a think about that one, especially as I angled much of my blog to be of use to new-ish writers. Closing down comments on your blog automatically after x weeks seems like a good idea. Write something else!

July 19, 2015 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

WOW. Anne, I regularly read your blog & learn a heap. Every so often I keep a record because I know I want to go back & refer to a post. This post is absolutely one of the latter sort. Thanks - once more - for really sound advice & all the right links all in one place. Fantabuloso!

July 19, 2015 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Will--Actually, we don't allow unmoderated comments on this blog after a week. But a lot of blogger don't moderate comments. It's better to have somebody watching over your blog even if you want it to stay up it up after you go.

What's a lot more important is keeping the trolls off your FB and Google plus pages and making sure your heirs can get the income from your books.

July 19, 2015 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

CS--Not the cheeriest of tropics, but it's something we all need to think about. I ran into so many problems with my mom's digital legacy. My sister is a lawyer and will be able to deal with most of my estate, but the digital stuff--no way. So I've made my nephew Daniel my digital executor.

July 19, 2015 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Anne Gallagher said...

In trying to paint my office recently, I found a huge stack of all the social media sites I've joined and all the passwords. Thankfully, I found them, because I didn't realize how many I was on. I've closed several already that I don't use. I have had every intention of putting them together in a note book for Monster, but haven't gotten around to it. Thanks for the reminder.

So sorry to hear about Ann. My condolences.

July 19, 2015 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Anne—Sorry to learn about Ann. I'll miss her!

Thanks for explaining this vital information so clearly. Very useful!

July 19, 2015 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Brilliant post, guaranteed to give us social media addicts a well-place kick in the butt! I never even thought about most of this, and now I'm bookmarking this post and sending the link to my students. Thanks, Anne!

July 19, 2015 at 11:04 AM  
Blogger Roland D. Yeomans said...

Cruelty seems the mantra of so many these days, doesn't it? My computer has died, and I am finding out that using the Kindle Fire keyboard is NO fun!! Your posts are always fascinating and illuminating. Thanks, Anne. :-)

July 19, 2015 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Anne--When I was researching this post, I realized I've done the same thing. I am on a ton of sites I never visit any more. Time to do some housecleaning!

July 19, 2015 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Ruth--Ann was an amazing woman. She could be really fierce and she wasn't much of a believer in self-publishing, but she always had fascinating things to say. She will definitely be missed.

July 19, 2015 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Melodie--Thanks for spreading the word to your students. Young people especially need to read this, because many have parents who are not social media-savvy.

July 19, 2015 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Roland--It has been really shocking to me to see the savagery on the Internet in the past few years. I have always believed that down deep, people want to be good and do right. I'm afraid I don't believe that any more. These people may walk upright and have opposable thumbs, but they're not human.

Speaking of opposable thumbs--if you can type ANYTHING on a tablet, you deserve kudos. I always make a garbled mess. Thanks for making the comment in spite of the setback. It's always sad when a computer dies.

July 19, 2015 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger mindprinter said...

Thank you, Anne, for this very important post. I had no idea about any of this. Wonder how many of us even think about it. It must have been painful to relive those last days with your mom. Thank you for this very heartfelt and valuable post. Very sorry to hear of your good friend, Anne Calhoun's passing. Paul

July 19, 2015 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Gigi Wolf said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I lost a good friend recently, in addition to losing best friends very suddenly, when they were still in their forties. No matter if you were in close contact or not, or even if they were in the circle of very close friends, it still leaves a hole in your life.

That's probably what got me thinking about this lately, besides the specter of upcoming surgery, particularly with respect to my blog. I've put so much work and time into it, I'd hate to see it languish, or disappear. There are some favorite reader posts on there, and the blog is meant for entertainment. It'd be nice to know people were still having fun with them after I'm gone.

On the other hand, I don't want my family to be saddled with the responsibility of maintaining it, which includes paying for the hosting, and renewing the domain name every year. I'd prefer they just take it down or sell it.

I've tried to delete one blog I didn't want, and it's still hanging around the blogosphere. Now, you've got me trying to remember the accounts I've opened and don't use.


July 19, 2015 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

I haven't given it much thought, but in regards to the Google issue (or Google blog for that matter), you can post the question in the "Something is Broken" thread that Blogger has. Someone there should be able to tell you exactly what you need in order to close out those accounts.

July 19, 2015 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Sasha A. Palmer said...

Anne, I'm very sorry for your loss. I went over to Ann's blog, her last post barely touches on her illness. It's all about gratitude, serving others, and rejoicing in life:

"The precious, fragile thing you hold in your hands every second, well, that's it. Life. Treasure it."

Thank you for this post, Anne.

July 19, 2015 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger Carroll Bryant said...

How ironic, just a few weeks ago, I turned all of my passwords over to a friend who will take over my accounts, responding only to post comments, not respond, clean junk mail and I gave this person my book account passwords with my "self" publishing company. In return, this friend gets to collect any and all monies from my writing, as well as my songs. I wanted to involve my family, but they can't be trusted. lol Great post!

July 19, 2015 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Mindprinter--Thanks. It's true that none of us think about this stuff. Social media and all these tech sites were created by young people, so there are no protocols in place yet for users' deaths. But Facebook has done it, so I assume the others will eventually. Meanwhile, make sure somebody has those passwords!

July 19, 2015 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger James said...

An option for keeping track of accounts and passwords is something like KeePass where you only need to share the master password and can keep all your accounts and passwords in one place.

July 19, 2015 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Gigi--It's true that losing a friend leaves a hole in your life. It also makes you face your own mortality.

With a self-hosted blog you do have the burden of payment you're passing on to your heirs. So it probably makes more sense to take it down. Maybe you could collect some of your favorite posts into an ebook. Those will be around a long time.

Yeah--writing this post made me realize I've got a lot of neglected accounts out there. Time for a purge.

July 19, 2015 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

G.B. Thanks. Luckily, my mom didn't have any Google accounts, but it's good to know there's someplace to ask around. The problem is finding a place to send the death certificate. Since Google has no contact addresses, that's difficult. Apparently some people had to get court orders just to get somebody at Google to talk to them.

July 19, 2015 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Sasha--Ann's last post is very moving, isn't it? She was an amazing person. I'm not sure she knew how close the end would be when she wrote it.

July 19, 2015 at 2:05 PM  
OpenID fornow said...

Sorry for your loss, Anne. You raise some great points. But the problem with hard copies and passwords is that they change. So those lists go out of date and become progressively useless.

I fully agree that instructions are required for the points you raise. But i strongly recommend a password manager such as LastPass. These are great tools anyways, allowing you to keep track of unique strong passwords for all your web resources. Then, all your executor needs is the single master password (and your computer login). That itself can be kept in a secret location that you share with them so they don't need what also may go out of date.

With a password manager and a way of sharing the current master password AND current computer login, plus those instructions, your executor can do their job with relative ease.

July 19, 2015 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Carroll--Sometimes your online "family" and friends can be more reliable than your actual family, especially when it comes to tech. I hope your decision isn't due to anything dire.

July 19, 2015 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

James--Yes. I included a link to PasswordBox in the post, but I know there are a number of those. I hadn't heard of KeePass, but I know lots of people prefer the "master password" option. Thanks!

July 19, 2015 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

fornow--I did say you need to update those lists every six months. But the sites like PasswordBox, KeePass and LastPass seem to work for a lot of people.

I covered this in the section on "Digital Executor" above, but it's good to repeat it. I probably should have mentioned that PasswordBox isn't the only master password site. I haven't tried the master password option myself, since I heard one of them got hacked. But I guess that's probably a rarity.

July 19, 2015 at 2:14 PM  
OpenID deborahjayauthor.com said...

What great and useful advice, thanks for sharing it in so much detail.
I have certainly found it distressing when facebook asks me to 'help so-and-so find more friends', after the people in question (2 friends of mine) both died, but their accounts remained active.
I shall endeavour not to place my own family and friends in the same situation.

July 19, 2015 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Deborah--That happened to me with my mom the week after she died. That was my wake-up call that I needed to close her FB account. She'd never really used it, so I had forgotten it was there.

July 19, 2015 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Leanne Dyck said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your friend's passing, Anne. Please accept my condolences.
Thank you for this helpful article. You're right it is something we all should tend to now while we are healthy.

July 19, 2015 at 5:29 PM  
OpenID amarquette333 said...

Hi Anne, This is a test to see if I can get the subscribe to comments :-)

July 19, 2015 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Leanne--Thanks! Yes, we all need to think about this stuff, as unpleasant as it is.

July 19, 2015 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Ann--I'm so glad you were able to comment. I hope the thing came up where you can subscribe to comments!

July 19, 2015 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Annalisa Crawford said...

I've been thinking about this topic recently, so the advice here is pertinent. I have my passwords written down, and my husband knows where they are, he just wouldn't necessarily know what to do with them - especially my blog and website, because he doesn't use those platforms. I think a teaching session might be on the cards!

July 20, 2015 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Annalisa--It's true the passwords don't help much if the person doesn't know how to use them. LOL.That's why I'm making my nephew my soc.med. executor. My sister doesn't uses social media at all.

July 20, 2015 at 10:19 AM  
Blogger ZR Southcombe said...

I'm 26 years old. I've had a couple of friends who have passed away, and their social media accounts have stayed active. Family and friends use these accounts as a memorial service (as you described in the post) but I feel it's also a way to prolong closure.

After those events, I gave my social media account details to my partner, and asked him that if I die before him, to delete every account. I also asked my brother and sister to look after my Amazon, Kobo etc. accounts, and have told them about the social media passwords, in case of a situation where my partner and I both die. It could happen, right?

I had wanted to keep the blog up (because there's info there that people refer back to) but now I think it's worth having someone to a) close comments and b) write a short post explaining that I'm not being lazy or rude - it's just really hard to blog from the grave.

This is such an important issue that most of us (especially when we're on the young end) don't want to think about. Thank you for bringing it up.

July 20, 2015 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

ZR--You're very aware of this stuff, especially for a person in his twenties. Most of us who are much older don't think about it at all. I think a memorial page shouldn't be up more than a few weeks. Just time for people to hear about it and leave a message if they want.

But I agree that leaving up an informational blog is a good idea--as long as somebody is tending it, as you say.

July 20, 2015 at 1:54 PM  
Blogger Christine Ahern said...

Life, and I guess even death, have sure gotten complicated in this digital age. Thanks for all the great advice. You are a wealth; of information, wisdom and generosity.

July 20, 2015 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Debby Gies said...

Outstanding information here Anne! I've bookmarked, shared and will repost later. :)

July 20, 2015 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Anne, this is so useful and important. Thank you for taking the time to include so much detail.

July 20, 2015 at 5:49 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Christine--You're right about the complications! I tried to use that template I recommended, but it doesn't have a place for passwords, so it's not much good. Sigh.

July 20, 2015 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Debbie--Thanks for sharing the info!

July 20, 2015 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...


July 20, 2015 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

In re: Blogger, they do have contact addresses that they'll give you to send items to (i.e. death certificates). In re: Google talking to someone, more often than not, moderators in some of their product forums will usually act as the go-between on most issues. For other things, Google will not do certain legal things w/o court orders.

July 21, 2015 at 2:56 AM  
Blogger Frances Caballo said...

Anne, I am so sorry for your loss. I must say that I love your advice in this post. I am ashamed to admit that even I had never thought about this. Thank you so much for this great post.

July 21, 2015 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Frances--Thanks much for stopping by! You're one of my social media gurus. But social media is young, and aimed at young people, and I don't think the idea of death comes into the general social media consciousness very much. But with my mom and my friend's death, reality kind of hit me upside the head.

July 21, 2015 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Good to know there's a way, even though it may take a lot of digging. Thanks, GB!

July 21, 2015 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Barry Knister said...

Anne-- When I read "What happens to your blog when you die?" my first thought was: that would make it harder to post. But then I read what followed. Really, what is there to say? I happen to be one of those oddities in favor not of capital punishment, but of corporal punishment. Up to now, I've thought it should apply in particular to big-shot, white collar criminals, people too insulated by money and influence to be touched by fines, or even prison sentences in country-club "facilities." I thought public flogging--humiliation--would be more of a deterrent to such people. Would it also apply to the social sludge you describe? If they could be found, it would be worth a try, don't you think?

July 21, 2015 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Barry--I read recently about a game designer who was getting an attack of rape threats. So she traced the IP addresses of the sexual predators. Turned out they were all under 14! So she phoned their mums. I think some of them probably DID get a spanking for their sociopathic behavior. Maybe we should bring back the stocks....

July 21, 2015 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger Tyrean Martinson said...

While this isn't something I really want to think about, I appreciate all this information. I'll be making some inroads on this today.

July 22, 2015 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Tyrean--I realize it's not a cheery topic, but it's so much kinder to our families if we deal with some of it.. Even though my mom was 92 when she died we still didn't have enough things in place before she started her rapid deterioration.

July 22, 2015 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger GathaEditor Onlinegatha said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

July 23, 2015 at 2:50 AM  
Blogger M Pax said...

Actually, we went through this with my baby brother recently. Once someone is appointed administrator and has the death certificate most internet companies will work with you to give you access to get into their account and clean it up. We researched it... although, my husband was able to hack into my brother's computer, which helped a lot. It's rather scary how easy it is to impersonate a dead person... Having a will and appointing an administrator saves time and frustration, even if you own nothing of value. Do it.

July 24, 2015 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

M Pax--I'm sorry for the loss of your brother. It's great your husband was able to hack into your brother's computer. Nobody in my family had skills like that, so we had to do things the hard way. Definitely handing those passwords over to an executor will save your heirs a lot of hassle. It's worth taking the time to do it now.

July 24, 2015 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger kathleen pooler said...

Anne, I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. This post has so much valuable information in it for writers and bloggers. I am copying it and filing it with my will. Thank you very much. I will share.

July 25, 2015 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Kathleen--Thanks for spreading the word!

July 25, 2015 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

What a helpful post! I'm going to save this and share this.

People warn you not to keep your passwords written down, but you really have to. I do just because I have so many of them now.

I've wondered if this is what happened to the lady who ran Grapevine Book Tours. We had made arrangements for a blast with my first book, and then she never invoiced me. Her social media accounts went silent, and she wouldn't even respond to emails. Her online presence is frozen in time. http://www.grapevinebooktours.com/


July 27, 2015 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Melissa--I just checked out Grapevine book tours, and you're so right. She must have died or become incapacitated sometime in March of 2014. And obviously her heirs had no way to access her accounts.

What's weird is the website looks like a self-hosted site, so she must have paid several years in advance. When the money runs out, that site will go dark. But I guess her FB page will be there forever. Sad.

Yeah, they tell you never to write down your passwords, make them at least 10 digits with a mixture of numbers, letters and characters and make all of them different. Which is fine if you have a computer for a brain. Most of us don't, so we've got to write the #%&! things down somewhere.

Hard copy is best. Hackers are not likely to break into your desk drawer. And burglars are not going to take time to rummage through all your papers if they've dropped in to rip off your laptop.

July 27, 2015 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger Debra Davis Hinkle said...

This was very informative and helpful. Thank you so much for doing all the research and putting the information into such an understandable format.

For years I've keep a password list but I've never thought about what would happen to my websites and other social media sites after my death. Now I'm thinking about it and I have the information to put a plan into action.

July 29, 2015 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Debra--Thanks! At least you keep a password list. For a long time I didn't because they always tell you never to write them down. (Like burglars are really going to take the time to look for a password list when they're lifting your laptop) Now all you have to do is copy them and give them to somebody tech savvy that you trust. It's that easy!

July 29, 2015 at 1:30 PM  

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