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|Hit by a Bus|
What Instructions should be left
So the bus hits me and I'm gone ... What instructions should be left so my family can still continue to reap the benifits of my adsense cheques.
This is good food for thought.
I'd been a "lone wolf" for so long I just haven't thought much about this stuff. But I got married in the summer, and it's been a long haul to get my reality re-adjusted to it not just being myself I had to worry about anymore.
The value of my online assets is a small % of the overall picture, but its important. My will states where ownership goes, but I've been lax in dealing with the technical details of how to arrange the transfer of ownership, and how to keep things "up and running" in the meantime.
A will just isn't going to cut it. Depending on where you live, it can take an AGE for a will to clear probate (I've seen probate drag on for several years in some cases), and in the meantime, any business can go down the tubes without a clear plan of action. Online, a year or two can mean massive changes to a business.
I'm thinking along the following lines:
I have two friends who aren't connected. One is a close friend I've had for a decade and a half, who I'd trust implicitly with a lot of this information. The fact that he works in computer security for one of the "big three" security companies, and as such, is subject to a tremendous level of oversight in his online dealings is a definite plus. The other is a friend I acquired through the marriage. Nice fellow, technically savvy, very trustworthy, and happily married. Between the two of them, I think I have two people who have the savvy to keep things running, and the trustworthiness to look after mine and my wife's best interests.
If I were to give both these men the information neccessary to keep things going while the legal hassle of probate is underway, I would have a double redunant system that would probably work.
Upon your death, your estate will pay taxes on the value of it's property including any business(es) the estate owns. If your estate doesn't have enough cash to pay the taxes, then the estate is required to sell assets to pay the taxes. So, if you leave a business that ends up being valued at $50K and $5K in cash and your tax bill ends up being $6K, then the business will be sold (for probably far less than it's worth) to get that extra $1K.
Writing a will alone is *not* enough to secure the continuity of a business and the last thing you want is a business going through probate. There are lawyers who specialize in setting up the trusts, "buy sell agreements," wills, and other documents that are needed for a solid business continuation plan. If the business is worth anything, talk to a lawyer that does this kind of work.
I used to be in the Life Assurance industry and regret leaving with all these "juicy prospects" in this thread!
Seriously though, I would ensure that my business assets(adsense account included) are in the name of a Corp/LLC/Inc and have that body take out a "Keyman" policy on my (and any other Key Persons lives for a sum that would pay for the salary and expenses for your/their replacement for a period that you feel is nescessary
This,coupled with buy and sell agreements and a will,trusts etc made under the guidance of a professional advisor should cover most of your requirements.
Naturally,give the details of sites etc to the lawyer to be used in the event of your death
I have used a simplified example SO
Get advice from a professional based on your current fiscal etc situation.This is meant as general advice.
In my case my website domains are in my son's name and he also hosts the sites. He knows everything about them except all the passwords which I have listed in a file on the comp.
I am listed on each site as owner of the designs and contents of the sites. Our contract gives me all money earned on the sites I design, write and build in my lifetime.
There will be no changeover as he also has his name on all my bank accounts. I have the greatest of trust in him and he has never let me down. If you can find someone in your family that you trust that well then the end will simply be a continuation.
Health problems dictated doing things this way as he and I are the only ones in our family who can manage such a business and websites.
There are so many thoughts till now which indicates best is to provide all information to a family member to whom you trust. But in case of mine, i have all passwords etc written in a file but no one in our entire family ever used internet or desire to use it. The only family member who i expect to use internet more than me is my daughter who is still 2.5 yrs. So the best in current situation for me is to have nomination name in AdSense and a friend to whom i trust. The domain is already paid for 10 yrs and i will keep adding years to it. for web hosting recurring payments i have set my credit card which will be debited every month automatically and informed my friend how to change it with another credit card.
I am in the process of reading this thread, but just wanted to agree with those who say this is an excellent topic.
It was in the last few weeks where this very thought crossed my mind. The people who would be able to take over my sites would be very ill-equipped to manage them or even get proper value if they sold them.
Definately mulling over what lengths I need to go to in order to make sure the assets at least find proper value if something happened to me.
I thought of this a few years ago when I started travelling a lot.
So, I decided to create a document with complete instructions on how to run my sites: where everything is, what all the administrative tools are, maintenance and things to check, problems that might occur as well as solutions to them, people to contact, all of the account names and passwords needed for domain registration, ad companies, email servers and so forth... so if something should happen to me, my family and/or partners aren't left up the creek.
Thanks for this thread. This is something that is bugging me since I joined this business in 2000.
Although, I have not done anything in order to have a running business after my death, but I have purchased a house without mortgage which has increased in value by double.
This is one investment, which my family can always cash and live peacefully, until my kids grow up.
From Jan 2006, I will also set aside a portion of my monthly earnings in a separate joint account, for unforeseen circumstances.
Ideally, I would like to hire services of a professional firm, belonging to this industry, who can run the business with small %age as there fee.
Another consideration would be continued copyright protection for any original content you've put on the web. Copyright ownership would be transferred like any other property upon your death.
I do wonder how Google would handle a situation where a publisher dies, his bank account is closed, and the EFT payments stop going through. How diligent would Google be about contacting the heirs? If the publisher had sites on, say, Blogspot, his content could be on the web indefinitely generating clicks.
As for me, I've told no one in my family about my websites and AdSense revenue for fear of invalid clicks. The situation would be different if I had a wife and children.
Great great great topic.
Hopefully this serves as a wakeup call to any without prior preparations.
Thanks for the many and varied responses to this topic. I'm going to implement many of the suggestions early in the New Year.
I try to make my business work automatically and wrote all the things down to a physical paper including to how to change payee, a list of contacts who can provide help, and some email templates etc.
|Since he did not leave information about his sites, it was a nightmare trying to figure out what sites he owned, what the passwords were to everything, etc. With some hard work, and a lot of intuitive detecting, I was able to eventually (after a few months), find out all the info for them. |
Where is the hard work?
And all the username / passwords become visible.
Well, I agree with the pesona above that quoted the E-Myth book.
The "user manuals" for all my sites are going to run for 70-80 pages combined. They will give basic instructions, passwords and know-how to keep my sites running or to sell them reasonably well.
When this will be done, I will print 4 copies of it, keep one for myself and give one each to a trusted person.
Concerning the domain ownership, just print a bunch of transfer documents, write all your domains on it and sign the contract.
Seal the documents and give them to someone you trust. The new owner only has to sign by himself and it's all done.
|Concerning the domain ownership |
As an OpenSRS reseller, everybody with my password can change the owner.
I have a will that leaves my websites to a university's computer sciences department.
My kids have no interest in learning or running the business, all of them adults. So, there is no point leaving the business to them, or even allowing them to sell it upon my death, and reap the rewards of it.
After all, according to them, it is not a 'real' job, and I am just lazy, sitting on my butt all day, doing nothing. I guess I am also an idiot, because I don't understand how $10k month can't be considered a 'real' job.
If my spouse goes with me, the University gets it all. Sealed documents will having all the needed info, are held by the attorney, and will be sent to the University immediately upon our death. They can do with it as they wish. At least that ultimate decision of what happens to the business will be made by people from our peer group, of like mind, with a brain.
The business will run itself for up to a year, because of the way I have the whole thing set up. There might be a few minor glitches, expected. But, for the most part things will be fine until the University takes over.
That is, unless before I die I 'adopt' a techie nerdy type adult daughter and/or son. Then, they get the business. My natural kids get the rest, including the life insurance policys.
Funny how money messes things up.
When my site was just a pure hobby, with no income, I could have happily given it away to another enthusiast who had the interest and skills to run it, or just let it die with me. (Of course this is the internet, and my domain is paid up for a long time, so the site would have lingered on for a few years)
Now that the income beats flipping burgers at a fast food joint it seems to be more complicated.
I could teach my wife how to keep the site going, routine maintenence stuff like posting new user submitted content, but the sites not really in her main area of interest.
I kind of like Janethuggards idea of giving the site to a school, or maybe some other non-profit type organization.
That would be fine if we both passed on at the same time, or if I outlive my wife, but if I pass first I'd like my wife to be able to get the income out of the site for as long as possible.
Lots to think about in this thread.
Knowing how my family feels about the inordinate amount of time I spend on the internet- they wouldn't miss a thing.
I'd be dead, the domains would expire and many "online friends" would some day notice that the discussion forums are gone...perhaps a friend would post that I'm gone.....what more is there?
The visitors move along, while I'm pushing up daisies.
Wait- the thought just occured to me that you are referring to people that actually make real money, right?
That ain't me.
Sorry for the intrusion...
I got good life insurance. Most of my stuff would just die unless I keep it going.
My sites would need some "tidying up" if I were to die, but no real ongoing maintainance. And my girlfriend knows enough to operate them.
I mean to look at handing my book review site on to a library or university for institutional longevity, though I don't know of any that use AdSense or Amazon for fundraising.
I think most of the advise about writing this, saving that, having all passwords, etc, will not make your family able to still "running" the business. They will definitely allow them have it "up" for a certain time, but not well "running".
After you're gone, there's just one option and is to sell everything.
But what you can do now, if you really want to family to run your web business is to teach them what you do now.
See, I can let my adwords acc/pass and my affiliate address in a paper on the will, but what if the wife have no idea about how the affiliate business work!?
You have to teach them, or instruct to sell.
Of course, the nicer is, incorporate, have employees that does everything for you, when you're gone, have the wife be the CEO, that will definitely still requiere here have some knowledge of what you do, but not in the detail like if she were to run it by herself.
I plan on teaching my daughter to run it but since she is less than a year old, it'll be a while. Hopefully I live that long.
I can just imagine some poor Google (Adsense publishers) employee getting a lot of "what happens if I die?" emails and having to answer them all individually along the lines of:-
Dying is the only acceptable way of getting out of the Adsense contract with us as our lawyers couldn't find a way to make all of it enforcable after death - just parts 6b), 8g), 7j) etc. Oh and by the way there's a clause which says that if Google outlives you Google gets back all the earnings. ;) OK, I'm being silly. Yes, planning ahead is a good idea. However look at it this way. Most of the people on this forum I hope would have at least another 80 years left. You've plenty of time to put into effect contingency plans (which you should have already anyway). The main people bothered by dying seem to be those with dependents - wife, kids etc. Try to enjoy life and not get hung up on death. I used to work in that field (no not killing people - as a funeral organist) and if you concentrate on death too much it'll only depress you and send you to an early and gloomy grave.
So, don't worry, be happy but do plan ahead. However "indispensable" you think you are as we all learn how to run websites we automate things for convenience - eg buying hosting and domains for year (or years) rather than monthly etc and if you can do it - someone else out there can and will. What a previous person said was interesting though. If you have set up a company it'll survive your death - kind of like immortality in the business world I suppose. Anyway this is getting off-topic. Is everyone here expecting the Grim Reaper any minute or did I misjudge the ages on this board?
I thinked once to explian all these things to my Wife.
But you know its too complex...
Managing servers,Different domain registrar,Credit cards,paypal passwords and lot more...
Finally I give up and decided to buy as many as possible insurance for myself from the money I make.
|Most of the people on this forum I hope would have at least another 80 years left. |
You might be very surprized at the age of many posters on this site. 80 more years would have many of us living to be 130 - 140, maybe even 150 yaers old. :)
Yeah that's why you're a senior member here. ;) Oh dear is Adsense code for pension then? ;)
|Oh dear is Adsense code for pension then |
I think my pension will be far less than my AdSense income in 18 years when I reach the age to retire.
Looking on the demographics, unemployed statistics in Austria and Germany, reading studies about the development, I think AdSense is also more reliable than the pension from Austrian government.
>So the bus hits me and I'm gone ... What instructions should be left so my family can still continue to reap the benifits of my adsense cheques.
See an accountant and good tax/corparate lawyer.
They will tell you exactly how to achieve your goals! It will probably cost you $2K to set it up, but who cares!
Actually it suppliments my retirement, I am almost 70 :)
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