What Happens When We’re Gone?
05 Dec 2022
Having all this tech is great, but what happens to it after we’re gone? Archive it? Delete it? Have someone else manage it?
I was perusing my Mastodon timeline the other day, and I saw this post from everyone’s favourite WordPress podcaster, Nathan Wrigley:
Where do you store your #Lastpass #1Password #Bitwarden et al. Master Password? I have some ideas, but I don’t think that it should be in any way stored on a device / cloud?
Nathan Wrigley on Mastodon
My wife and I use Bitwarden as our password manager (BTW, it’s way better than LastPass). It works amazingly well, and both of us have emergency access to one another’s account.
That’s all fine and dandy, but my wife has absolutely no idea how to manage this stuff without a lot of assistance from me. She’s not a techie and has absolutely no interest in becoming one.
The morbid bit
My wife has great genes. Her gran lived until 103 and both her parents are fit and healthy pensioners that look a fraction of their age.
Me, not so much. My father died of cancer when he was 47, my mum has had cancer and my brother has it currently at the age of 40. My maternal grandfather was the oldest of us – he died at the age of 77 of…you guessed it…cancer.
All of the people listed above are (or were) smokers, with the exception of my grandfather. I’m not a smoker either, so if I get to 80, I’ll be happy.
I’m very confident my wife will see me out. So what happens to a lifetime of tech that a nerd like me accumulates when I kick the bucket?
Off the top of my head (and this doesn’t include anything else I’ll accumulate throughout the rest of my life), I’d need to come up with contingency plans for the following:
- This website, and any other websites and own/manage
- Our emails, which are managed by Zoho
- Our home server that stores all our important documents, pictures and a tonne of other stuff
- The local and off-site backups for this data
- Various domains names associated with the services above
- Around 150 online accounts, some of which are for important household things, like electricity, water etc.
What to do?
With the exception of my website(s), these are not frivolous things I’m talking about here. I’m sure I won’t want to think about any of this on my death bed; and I’m damned sure my wife won’t want to think about any of it during her
celebration of me leaving grieving.
So I need to think of contingencies for all this while I’m still fit and healthy. I just have no idea what they would be.
Ironically, the website(s) are the easiest part. I’d probably just generate a static version of them, dump them to a free domain, pre-pay my domain for a few years and redirect it.
Let’s be honest, no-one is going to care about any of my rambling for any length of time anyway. Maybe my kids or grandkids may want to read some of it, so I would keep a local archive they can peruse too.
Emergency access to my Bitwarden vault would probably solve the online accounts piece. So I’d just have to write instructions maybe? Will Bitwarden even be around 40 years from now? Jeez, this is a minefield.
The home server and emails are the troubling ones. We use a custom domains and my wife won’t know how to manage renewals, or MX records, or DKIM etc.
Maybe as I get older, I get rid of the home server and just move my wife to iCloud, or whatever to equivalent is then? Do I migrate her over to Gmail, or a similar service so she doesn’t have to worry about email and its delivery too?
I have no answers
Literally none. And it worries me. I think I’m going to need to go away and think long about this one, then come up with a plan. I’m just hoping that one of my kids grows up to be a techie so I can hand it all over to them and my wife doesn’t have to worry about all this.
Is this something you have considered? If so, I’d love to hear your solution(s), because I’m fresh out of them.