March 11, 2009, 8:01 AM — On Tuesday, Legacy Locker was unveiled. This is a service that will hold onto all your online account names and passwords for you, and in the event of your death, it'll send this info to beneficiaries that you've assigned. It can also send "Legacy Letters" for you. You know the kind of thing: "If you're reading this, it means I'm already dead..."
I keep flip-flopping on this idea. One minute I think it's brilliant, the next I find it chuckle-worthy. It's certainly brilliant for the owners, who'll charge you $300 for a lifetime subscription to the service, or $30 per year if you're feeling pessimistic about your chances of making it through the next decade. Most curious of all, a free "trial" account is available. Presumably if you die and like the way the service handles your death, when you're reincarnated you'll know the full package is worth paying for? (Flippancy aside, a trial account limits you to three assets, one beneficiary and one legacy letter. It'll be interesting to see if you can 'simulate' your death using a trial account to understand better how the service works.)
I'm just trying to understand who the service is for. The site promotes its services with this blurb:
Do you have an email account? Or two? Or three? Do you buy or sell stuff with eBay, Amazon, PayPal, Yahoo! Stores, or elsewhere? Do you blog, or use Twitter, or put up videos on YouTube? Do you share or backup photos with Flickr, Photobucket, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, or Shutterfly? Do you maintain your identity at LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, or Plaxo? Do you have credits in the iTunes store, or at PartyPoker.com?
Think about all the time you spend online these days, and how important and valuable these sites and services are to you and your family.
In the event of my death, I find it hard to believe that my family is going to be staying up all night worrying about how to get at those iTunes credits I had. And Flickr? Facebook? These sites are designed for sharing info. Why would my family need to log into my Flickr account after I'm gone?
I can see the value with finance-related accounts, but here's the thing. If the information you want to get to your family is valuable enough to pay $300 to keep safe, are you going to trust that Legacy Locker is still going to be in operation when you die? Doesn't it make more sense to store all the pertinent info in a document, encrypt it, and store it (with the decryption software) on a disk or USB drive and leave it in a safe deposit box, giving the decryption key to a loved one?