For many of us, the internet is quickly becoming a comprehensive digital archive of our lives, housing our photo albums, documents, correspondence, and video clips. Unfortunately, when someone passes away, the mechanisms for transferring this information to family members are archaic, requiring intervention from lawyers and in some some cases made impossible by a web site’s Terms of Service.
Legacy Locker is a new company looking to make the transfer of these digital treasures as easy on surviving friends and family as possible. The site allows users to input their login credentials to the web services they access, which are then distributed to family members or friends in the event of their death. Users can select which account information will be distributed to whom (for example, you could send your PayPal credentials to your spouse, and your Zoho account to coworkers). Legacy Locker is making its initial debut today, and the service itself will go live in the next few weeks.
Legacy Locker is primarily geared towards the over 12 millions American households who have created wills either with the help of professionals or using software (the company believes it will be most appealing to people who are proactively interested in protecting and preserving their assets). The service will offer a free demo to test out the interface, and will cost $30/year or $300/lifetime. In the event of a death, the site allows a user’s attorney or friends to alert the site to their passing, with a number of checks and balances in place to ensure there are no false notifications.
Legacy Locker seems like a good idea for things like photo albums, though I question how many people would be eager to share their Email accounts or social network profiles. In any case, the real issue with Legacy Locker (and other ‘online wills’) is that they are only useful if the company exists for many years, which is hardly a given for most startups. That said, there’s a definite need for a way to transfer digital information with more finesse than a court order, and Legacy Locker may just be the answer.