E-mail, blog, iTunes, social networking, online photo albums… more and more of our lives and our businesses are moving online, but what happens to that online life when you pass away? Will your accounts languish, becoming an easy mark for hackers?  Eventually be deleted? Perhaps they’ll be passed to your spouse after petitioning the court for access, but will your spouse know what to do with all of them?

The internet is no longer merely where you go for personal e-mail and the occasional online shopping trip—many businesses now exist almost exclusively online, as do reputations and friendships. What tech-savvy people need is a way to dispose of all of their online assets when they pass away, an online will, if you will.  Now there is a company that offers this kind of service: Legacy Locker.

Legacy Locker describes itself as “a safe, secure repository for your digital property that lets you grant access to online assets for friends and loved ones in the event of death or disability.” It allows you to upload login information for all of your various online assets and assign those assets to different friends, loved ones, or trusted agents. Upon your death, Legacy Locker will send the ownership information, along with your own final letter or instructions, to the people you have “nominated”. This means you can assign assets to the appropriate people: your personal e-mail to your spouse, your iTunes account to your daughter, your business e-mail and blog to your business partner.

Of course there are drawbacks; the Legacy Locker needs to live as long as you do to be effective, and you’ll need assurances that it is safe and “hack-free”, but this is obviously an idea whose time has come, because our online lives are becoming as rich as our physical lives, and will soon (if not already) need just as much protection.