A few months back, I wrote about the importance of having legal documentation in case of emergency or death, including a will, medical and financial powers of attorney, and so on. I mentioned the web site Get Your Shit Together, which is set up to make it easy for you to start (and finish!) this process.
In the last six months or so, two men I knew died suddenly and unexpected of heart attacks. Both were in their mid-40s. I know very well that there is risk involved with driving a car or crossing the street. Your family and friends won't be happy if you die suddenly or are severely injured, but you can make life a little easier for them by having your paperwork in place.
There's an area I didn't discuss in my previous posting: your various internet accounts and content you own that's on the internet. Accounts might include bank accounts, merchant accounts (Amazon, MDT), other financial institutions (stockbroker, 401(k) provider), social networking sites, blogs, etc.
There are two things to think about:
1. Making all of the account names and passwords available to whoever would be handling your affairs if you died or were incapacitated.
2. Making clear what you want to happen to all of the intellectual property, photos, and so on. If I want the content of this blog to survive me, I have to spell that out in my will so that my executor has an obligation to make sure that happens. I believe that Google removes inactive blogs after some time period, so my intention is to have the content downloaded and printed in bound volumes, then donated to some appropriate archive, which I will have to figure out. Also, I may purchase 100 years of web hosting so that the content can be uploaded and live on in blog format.