My 56th Take Control book, published a few days ago, is quite a bit different from anything I’ve written before. I’ll let this funny-looking guy with purple hair explain:

In the customer survey Take Control Books conducted a few months ago, the topic of one’s digital legacy was the most popular by a large margin. People are increasingly concerned about what will happen to their accounts, email, photos, and other data if they die or become incapacitated; and beyond that, how they can make sure all (and only) the data they want to pass down to future generations is preserved in a way that will still be useful decades or centuries from now. I tackle all these subjects, and more, in Take Control of Your Digital Legacy.

Take Control of Your Digital Legacy cover

We’ve already received a surprising amount of feedback. Several groups have asked me to do presentations about the material in the book, and professionals such as estate lawyers and accountants have been inquiring about how they can buy the book in bulk for their customers. Every time I turn around someone else is telling me a story involving the importance of having a plan to pass on their digital information. I’m truly amazed at the level of interest.

I wondered how enthusiastically the market would embrace a book that is about, you know, death. But as it turns out, people are finding it life-giving to consider the notion that they can take concrete action to influence the distant future. And, as I say in the book, most of the steps you take to organize and preserve your data for posterity can also have concrete benefits right now.

The book answers questions like these:

  • How can I be sure someone I trust has access to all my passwords in the event of my death or another emergency?

  • What will happen to my social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) when I die, and do I have any say over that?

  • Is there any way I can help my heirs figure out what information I have and where to find it, without laboriously indexing zillions of files?

  • What are the options for dealing with my saved email, random files on my computer, and assorted online accounts?

  • How can I go about digitizing family photos and other memorabilia I want to pass on?

  • Are there any potential issues involved in passing on purchased media (such as music, movies, and TV shows) to an heir?

  • What are the best file formats to use if I want my data to be readable in the distant future?

  • Which storage media are most likely to be readable years from now, and what can I do to prevent data loss over time?

  • What’s the advantage of writing my own obituary while I’m still alive?

There’s much more, too. This book is appropriate for people of any age, and regardless of which platform(s) you use. Apart from a couple of spots that required a bit of technical detail, it’s written for the layperson; you don’t have to be a computer whiz to make sense of this material.

You’ll learn all the fundamentals of digital estate planning: why your regular will should be accompanied by a digital will, how to inventory your digital assets without going crazy, and how to choose a digital executor. The book even includes a free downloadable template you can fill in to express your wishes for dealing with every aspect of your digital legacy.

Take Control of Your Digital Legacy costs $15, and it’s available right now from Take Control Books. I hope you’ll find it useful.

As is my custom, I spoke to Chuck Joiner about this book on MacVoices. Have a look (or listen):