In late February, Stephanie Bemister, sister of deceased journalist William Bemister, contacted consumer-rights blog the Consumerist with a problem: she wanted to remove her brother’s profile from Facebook, but the social-networking site would not remove it because its policy is to maintain the profile as a memorial. After a letter from Bemister was posted on the Consumerist, however, Facebook agreed to let her take down the profile.
Welcome to the new reality of managing the online data of loved ones after they die. Unsurprisingly, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are already answering the call. Legacy Locker, whose site is launching today, is a startup that offers an online repository for usernames and passwords that is released to a beneficiary in the event of a person’s death.
To be sure, there’s nothing new about storing login information online. Password managers like Passpack, clipperz, and others have done this for years. But the founders of Legacy Locker believe that they’ve hit on a specific need: the release of login information to trusted people as well as specific instructions for beneficiaries. For instance, in the event of your death, you could leave a note for your partner or children to send out to the contacts in your social networks.
The service isn’t aimed at a younger Facebook or Twitter demographic, explains cofounder David Speiser. It costs $29.99 a year or a one-time fee of $299, and is targeting the demographic that is already in the process of drafting wills.