If you were to die tomorrow, what would happen to all your data that's out there on the internet?
It's probably a subject that many people don't really want to think about, but with so much of our lives being stored in the "cloud" it's becoming more and more important.
Gmail, Flickr, Facebook, and all the other sites that we use on a regular basis have a lot of our information in them. And very few of them have any official policies in place for transitioning your accounts to someone else when you die.
The Backupify blog posted an article about Gmail in particular a few days ago - What happens to my Gmail account when I die?.
Put more simply, can my wife inherit my Gmail account when I die?
This is more than an academic exercise: I have a number of online accounts and services that send primary notifications to my Gmail account. It’s entirely possible my wife may not be able to access my Health Savings Account or Roth IRA in a timely fashion without access to my Gmail account.
That's a good point - lots of us probably have this kind of personal stuff that passes through Gmail.
The easy answer is to make sure your survivors have all your important account logins, but as that post from Backupify points out, it's often against the terms of service of the sites for someone else to log in using your ID.
There's no easy answer, but as these services age this is going to start coming up more often. I'm sure they will have to implement some kind of policies to deal with these issues.
In the meantime, make sure that you have backups of everything that you want your survivors to be able to access. If it's stored somewhere besides the cloud, they will be able to access it without having to worry about breaking these sites' TOS.