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Quote of the Day - When you have told anyone you have left him a legacy the only decent thing to do is to die at once. - Samuel Butler
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Email After Death. What Are Your Plans?

With the loss of Terry Schiavo, there's been less and less rhetoric about what happens after you die. While MIPTC is not going to engage in an existential examination of those issues, there are some more worldly issues to think about.

For example: where do your emails go? I'm not sure whether there's an email heaven or an email hell, but my tech department tells me plain and simple, "They stay on the server."

As unexciting as that response was, there's got to be more to it. Think about it. You're still being spammed after you die, and presumably others who don't know that you died may still be sending you emails, despite whatever that etiquette/protocol may be.

So there is email after death.

But the question from the link above about where your emails go deserves some inquiry, too. Should your ISP provide your family members with access to your emails? The answer has more than two sides, but ready ones that I can come up with are that your family members are going to go through your things anyway, so what's the difference between rummaging through your files and papers at home and rummaging through your email?

Some say your email is more like a personal journal, where you communicate freely. What if you don't want your family members to see what (or who) you've been writing? After you die, it's too late to destroy those incriminating emails. I'm not aware of any self-destruct mechanisms built into email servers, so unlike Mission Impossible, that tape isn't going to go up in smoke.

People who have really planned ahead may have included dealing with emails in their wills. [Side note here: is email "property" that you can transfer by will to someone else, or provide for the destruction of email, if that's your wish?] Admittedly, my will doesn't deal with email, but then again, my emails may put my family to sleep.

Perhaps the easiest way to deal with it is through the email provider. Kind of a check-the-box thing. And when I die, I'd just like to go naturally, without anyone reading my emails. How about you?

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Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, April 21, 2005 at 14:32 Comments Closed (1) |
 
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