As long as people have lived, they've been dying. And when they do, their possessions are rounded up, then divided up.
But the digital age has made all of this more complicated. Because now, everything from your communications to your favorite photos exist in only digital form. So when you die, like your spirit, it's in the clouds.
So what's going to happen to your iTunes library? Facebook photos? All the emails you've sent over the years? E-books you've written?
And then there's all the stuff on your hard drive. Before the information age, there was no digital you. Now there is. So here are some tips to deal with it.
First, passwords. Make a list and put it in the hands of someone you trust. Don't, however, leave those passwords in your will, because wills become a public document.Next, learn the policies of the services you use. For example, Google recently started something called the "Inactive Account Manager."
If you don't log on for a certain amount of time, this free service will notify the people you choose and give them access to documents, emails and photos stored with Google. Or, if you choose, destroy it all. But Yahoo, Microsoft and others have different policies: so check em out.
There are also paid services that will help you organize your estate, store important digital files and transfer them on your death. This one, for example, is $3 a month, or $300 for a lifetime.
But whether you pay someone or not, organize. Make your pictures and files easy to find for you now, and loved ones later.
And if you've got things on your hard drive you want to die with you, then you're going to have to password protect your hard drive and take that password to the grave.
Bottom line? Digital death is something new in the human experience, and it's something we should all consider.
Want more information? Go to moneytalksnews.com and do a search for "Estate Planning".
For Money Talks News, I'm Stacy Johnson.