SITES FOR SORE EYES: Websites for Bidding Farewell

Vol. 30 No. 3

By

Jim Calloway (jimc@okbar.org) is director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program.

After almost five years of doing this “Sites for Sore Eyes” column, it is time to move on. The column first appeared in the May 2007 issue of the GPSolo Technology eReport and went on to GPSolo magazine from there. Courtney Kennaday, director of the South Carolina Bar’s Practice Management Assistance Program (PMAP) was a co-columnist for quite some time. Thanks to the leadership and staff of the GPSolo Division for allowing me this opportunity. But now it is time to move on to other projects.

So, it seems like a fitting theme for my final “Sites for Sore Eyes” column to focus on websites for saying good-bye.

There are lots of ways to say good-bye. iDUMP4U (idump4u.com) will perform a breakup for those who just cannot handle doing it personally. The rates are $10 for a “basic breakup,” $25 for an engagement breakup, or $40 for a divorce call. The website even features the audio files of some of their favorite breakup phone calls.

And for the person who had a generous former lover, you can always cash out those gifts of affection that are now just painful or awkward reminders at Exboyfriend Jewelry (exboyfriendjewelry.com), an online jewelry resale site with categories such as “I love Tiffanys . . . HATE Him!” or “Love the Cross, Over him.” A similar site is Never Liked It Anyway (neverlikeditanyway.com), where the items posted for sale have a “real world price” and a “break-up price.”

Next let’s talk about representing clients. Estate planning has been a staple of legal services for a very long time. Now there are many clients with digital assets that they consider valuable. Some have true economic value, while others are very important for emotional or privacy reasons. Often when a person dies unexpectedly, the bereaved family seeks closure by gaining access to the departed’s social media accounts. But there are likely many who would be horrified at the idea of their parents reviewing all their private Facebook postings after their deaths or even having access to their personal e-mail accounts.

Today’s estate planning lawyers will ask their clients about digital media assets. Perhaps they have a blog that is monetized and producing regular revenue, or they have a popular YouTube channel. Sharon Nelson, my podcasting partner on the Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology (tinyurl.com/yzge4yc) and the president-elect of the Virginia State Bar, gave some thought to digital estate planning and consulted her own attorney, Samantha Musso. The result was her blog post “What Your Will Should Say About Your Digital Assets” (tinyurl.com/d65m57w). Practicing lawyers will be pleased to learn that this post contains sample language for dealing with digital assets in powers of attorney and wills. It also includes a sample Digital Assets Memorandum to assist the personal representative or executor with necessary information such as user names, passwords, PINs, etc.

There are a surprising number of online vendors providing services to you after you die. I have not personally researched all of them, and you should do your own investigation before signing up for any services or disclosing confidential information to them.

Legacy Locker (legacylocker.com) “is a safe, secure repository for your vital digital property that lets you grant access to online assets for friends and loved ones in the event of loss, death, or disability.” You can include documents and a video, as well as the passwords and other information. They even have a section of the website directed to estate planning professionals. The annual fee for this service is $29.99, but there is also a $299.99 “one-time fee.” I’m a bit surprised they didn’t bill that as a lifetime fee, plus a bit more.

AssetLock (assetlock.net) is a similar service that allows subscribers to upload lots of digital information to be passed along after death to those who are designated. I can see this being used for some special family photos or similar items. Pricing plans range from the Basic plan at $9.95 per year ($59.95 lifetime) for up to 20 entries and 20 MB of storage to the Ultra plan with unlimited entries and up to 5 GB for $79.95 per year ($239.95 lifetime).

Deathswitch (deathswitch.com) is an automated system that prompts you for your password on a regular schedule to make sure you are still alive. When you fail to respond for some time, you receive multiple prompts. Silence on your end eventually convinces the system that you are dead or disabled, and pre-scripted e-mail messages are sent to recipients that you have designated. Common uses for this service are listed as computer passwords, financial advice or bank account information, final wishes, “unspeakable secrets,” or “last word in an argument.” (Why do I have this vision of someone taking their once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world while their unspeakable secrets are being spilled back home?) You can sign up for one message to one recipient for free. But the $19.95-per-year package provides for up to 30 messages with up to ten recipients for each and allows file attachments.

A similar service is Dead Man’s Switch (deadmansswitch.net), which only charges $20 for its premium plan.

IfIdie.org (ifidie.org) states that it “gives you a way to write notes that will only be delivered if you die. The service is free, easy to use, and completely secure. Use this website to leave instructions for what to do with your pets and journals, to write letters to the people you care about, or for anything else you want.” It is free to use and supported by donations.

IfIdie (ifidie.net) bills itself as a Facebook application to allow you to create a video or text message that will be released only after your death. The promotional video on the site says you can use it to bid farewell, share a joke, or settle an old score. Just install the app and choose Facebook friends as trustees to share your last words at the appropriate time.

Mysendoff.com is a site with lots of resources and informative articles about preparing for your funeral and death. You sign up for the service, read all about various types of funeral services, prepare instructions for your wishes, and then appoint several “cyber pall bearers” to carry out your wishes.

PerpetualWebsites.net asks the question, “What happens to your website when you die if there’s nobody to keep it going?” Their answer is, of course, to sign up for their services as a “website trustee.” Pricing varies with the scale of the project.

About.com has a nice feature on how to gracefully depart your job and say farewell to your coworkers at tinyurl.com/yvmx9s. Another feature includes links to sample resignation letters: tinyurl.com/d2n5dym.

WikiHow has a thoughtful feature on saying good-bye in various different situations (wikihow.com/Say-Goodbye) and another feature on how to do a break up (wikihow.com/Break-Up).

You may not have known just how many websites deal with various aspects of saying good-bye. I hope that some of these were fun and may prove interesting to you—at least in conversation—in the future. I also hope you have started thinking about your client’s digital assets when doing estate planning.

The only remaining thing to say is:

Good-bye!


Good-bye and Hello

A note from Jeffrey Allen, Editor-in-Chief:

Jim Calloway has done yeoman’s work for GPSolo magazine and the GPSolo eReport with his “Sites for Sore Eyes” column. Although it has proven one of our more popular columns, researching and writing it has also taken its toll on Jim, and he has chosen to step away from it, as he explains above. We want to express our gratitude to Jim for his contributions and his columns. Jim has agreed to write for us again after a brief respite. Recognizing the popularity of the discussions of websites, we will soon introduce a new column dedicated to the topic, to be written by William L. Wilson. Look for the column’s debut this fall.

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