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Hit by a Bus
What Instructions should be left
camweh




msg:1366377
 12:06 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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.

 

phantombookman




msg:1366378
 12:13 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is very interesting and thanks for posting

I have a similar concern, having several websites. Not just with adsense concerns but getting in a position that they can be taken over by someone when i'm gone.
I should hate to see all that work lost.

As we know, hsoting companies and domain registrars are all but impossible to deal with unless you are the registered account owner

petra




msg:1366379
 12:19 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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.

make a will ;)

icedowl




msg:1366380
 1:08 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here's what I'd leave behind:

1. URL's and login information for anything related to your sites. Be sure to include your domain registrar, hosting company, your control panels, databases and whatever else you might be using.
2. Info for any recurring fees such as site hosting and domain renewal with amounts, how paid, etc.
3. Definitely a will.

vincevincevince




msg:1366381
 1:36 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Might it be better for the family to sell the whole setup based upon the value of current income to someone who has the experience to manage it?

irock




msg:1366382
 1:38 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

camweh,

Can you like register a limited company and then appoint another directory besides yourself? Maybe a spouse/father...

Another solution is to have your accountant prepare something like a transfer of director title... sorry, I'm a layman in this area. But we talked about it for situations in which you are in a slow death... terminal cancer... not hit by a bus or plane. So, you still have plenty of time to handle stuff like this.

In any cases, cheques written to limited company is way better than your personal name... since your wife/kids/parents can still deposit cheques after you're gone. If not, they may have to register Adsense again, and replace the codes... or something like that.

Hobbs




msg:1366383
 1:49 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

We were discussing something similar to this but it was about reincarnation :)

Ok, Here's my plan:
a) A file on my palm with all the login urls, usernames and passwords that I use in my daily work, as well as all the banking details. (a safe print out would not hurt too)
b) Plan to do a search around for a local company that manages web sites maintenance, update and content professionally, and I will make a list of the best ones I find and add it to my palm file.
I am thinking that any company should not take more than 5% of the annual earnings to keep the server up and running, and another 15% for managing and updating the content would be very fair, another 5% for hosting , domain name and other misc. that leaves a 75% hands off net profit for my family which is not bad.
c) Don't forget to instruct your loved ones to immidiatley activate Payment holding.
d) The most important thing to do is to have a technically competent relative / friend that you can trust be in charge of the handover and details till things settle, the last thing you want for your loved ones after a (great terrible world changing catastrophic) loss is to put them through a technical and logistical learning curve.

What I still do not know is how Google would handle the matter, and how they would respond to a request to change the account holder's name and banking details.

Google AdSense Advisor: If you are reading this please check out this issue for us and let us know, I really wouldn't wish for my family to have to re-apply for a new account, a simple suggestion is for Google to allow us to add a secondary name and email in case we cannot be reached.

howiejs




msg:1366384
 2:10 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is an IMPORTANT topic

I made a series of Camtasia videos - audio and all - walking through my web biz

kartiksh




msg:1366385
 2:14 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google AdSense Advisor: If you are reading this please check out this issue for us and let us know, I really wouldn't wish for my family to have to re-apply for a new account, a simple suggestion is for Google to allow us to add a secondary name and email in case we cannot be reached.

ditto

dazzlindonna




msg:1366386
 2:53 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I experienced this firsthand a couple of years ago, when a friend died, and his family contacted me for help. They had seen emails between the two of us, and determined that I might be someone they could trust.

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.

Since then, I have been diligently documenting everything that my family would need to be up and running immediately. I periodically print it out and put it into a safe.

You'll need domain registrar info (usernames, passwords for each domain), hosting info (usernames, passwords for each site, including control panel info, database info, support info), as well as all affiliate info (affiliate site, username, password). I also include a list of typical usernames and passwords I might use in case there is anything I may have left out of the document.

Finally, leave a note with some names of people you trust who could help your family deal with it all. Someone who understands the business, but won't rip your family off.

This IS extremely important. If my friend's family hadn't contacted me, they may have gone bust very quickly.

Jean




msg:1366387
 2:58 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

a simple suggestion is for Google to allow us to add a secondary name and email in case we cannot be reached.

This is an excellent idea and would definitely ease some concerns that I have had about "what if scenarios"

erobs




msg:1366388
 3:03 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I had my adsense account under my company name. I recently sold my company, but not all of the websites that have adsense on them.

I contacted adsense about how to change the name on my adsense account as I no longer wanted checks coming to my former company name.

I received a reply from an adsense support rep who told me that I would have to cancel my current adsense account, and then open a new adsense account. They did offer to expedite the approval and setup of the new account, once I contacted them about canceling the old account.

I canceled the old account per their instructions and sent the email to the rep. Within 4 3-4 hours, I received a reply that the new account was approved and setup. Then all I had to do was change the code on all of the sites. That took 3-4 hours as well, so the total loss was about 8 hours in my situation.

Liane




msg:1366389
 3:09 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have wondered about what to do with my business should I become infirm or die and it really is a hard one to answer. A bricks and mortar store is a far more tangible thing to deal with. The problem with my business is that so few people would know how to run it because they don't have the knowledge I have. In fact, it would be almost impossible for anyone to just step right in and run it.

So, I have left instructions to sell the company, the web site and my computers, lock stock and barrel to a competitor. I have left a list of competitors and a few interested parties who may be capable of doing what I do.

Though a member of my family may think they might want to try to run the company, it would be a nightmare and they would run it into the ground in no time. They would get a whole lot more if they sold it with the receivables (there are no payables) and the web site as is. A competitor could pick up pretty much where I leave off.

It may not be ideal, but at least a lump sum is better than dwindling sales leading to nothingness!

cerebrum




msg:1366390
 4:37 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google AdSense Advisor: If you are reading this please check out this issue for us and let us know, I really wouldn't wish for my family to have to re-apply for a new account, a simple suggestion is for Google to allow us to add a secondary name and email in case we cannot be reached.

This is a good suggestion. As we have nomination facility in Bank Accounts, I think Google should do something similar.

[edited by: tedster at 9:19 pm (utc) on Dec. 27, 2005]
[edit reason] quote box added [/edit]

buckworks




msg:1366391
 4:50 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

A key issue: If a domain name expired while your heirs or executors were figuring out what to do, all the other questions would be moot. Make sure your important domains are registered well in advance, and don't just depend on your registrar's automatic renewals. I'd say at least two years ahead would be wise, and longer is better.

stajer




msg:1366392
 5:12 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Your business may change too rapidly to keep a log of the current business information. Consider "Key Man" business insurance - insurance specifically designed to cover the cost of replacing a key person in a company in the event of disability or death.

A $1000 annual premium can provide $250k and up of money to hire a PROFESSIONAL person/company to figure out passwords, access accounts and manage the business on your death. You take out the insurance and pre-select the company/person.

Two main advantages:

1. The value of your business is protected while your relatives deal with your funeral arrangements.
2. Even with your passwords/account info, do your relatives have the expertise to run your business?

ByronM




msg:1366393
 5:35 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

If your business is that good you should be thinking about how you can make it maintainable while your alive not just when your hit by a bus.

Incorporate now, today.. Not tomorrow. Create an entity for your business that protects your assets today and tomorrow and create a business plan so the passing along of such entity is agreed by all of those involved. (be it love ones, your insurance company, friends or partners)

It's good to think about this stuff, but i would give priority to your friends and family in this matter. Would your spouse want to run your business or would he/she be better off receiving a life insurance benefit vs a business? Would you be better off having a partner, a corporation with a board that can look for another "ceo" or just let the memory of the site go on and have your staff/webmasters/publishers close up shop and gracefully move on?

Essex_boy




msg:1366394
 5:38 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Odd this Its something ive been thinking about recemtly, I seem to recall a tragic post from a guy on here saying that he had lost both sons in a short period.

That and realising that time waits for no man or webmaster, has made be feel rather fatalistic and acutly aware of my own mortality.

You need a will to start with not with site instructions but directions on where to find the site info on hardcopy! Not a palm, what happens god forbid if your palm is destroyed along with you? Set up a corporation if the cost is warranted, its cheaper than you think and have the other director know all about whats going on.

Store your pasword details in a strong box at the bank, have your will mention this.

Death is all around us and easier to come upon than you realise, I did a short stint in as hospital porter. I was always shaken to bring someone in living and chatting in the morning and bring them out to the mortuary on the next shift.

pageoneresults




msg:1366395
 5:40 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

You may also want to consider setting up a Living Trust [ftc.gov]. It is not inexpensive but, the costs it will save your family is well worth it!

BillyS




msg:1366396
 6:08 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I do the webmaster thing part time... Sometimes as I walk home I think "What would happen to my website if I was killed by a car walking home tonight?"

I've got all my passwords in one place (except for the domain name information, which I will add).

I've always thought the best thing might be plain old insurance - bought with the profits from this company (I'm an LLC).

Maybe I'll talk to my nephew - he is studing computer science in school. My wife is not interested (lacks focus). My own kids are too young.

Good stuff

klp29




msg:1366397
 6:23 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Great subject!

At first, I thought it was a joke and actually wondered if I should ask what TYPE of bus it was concerning :)

Then I showed the thread to my wife and we ended up taking it quite seriously.

There's a lot of passwords, links, urls etc. that needs to be known to the one who doens't get hit by the bus!

ronburk




msg:1366398
 6:49 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

What instructions should be left

Why not kill 2 birds with 1 stone? In addition to getting hit by a bus, you might get successful enough (or bored enough) that you want to pay someone to do what you're doing today.

Read the E-Myth book. Document each of the processes involved in running your business. The process of documenting a process often reveals that it's more complicated than it has to be, and less idiot-proof than it could be.

Creating documented (hopefully highly automated) processes is a good way to a) not have your family be lost if they suddenly have to run or sell your business and b) prepare to hire someone possibly less skilled than yourself to do some or all of the work for you. Even if neither of those things happen, the exercise may help you simplify and automate some of your existing processes.

Paris




msg:1366399
 6:51 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's funny how so many of us have the same thoughts, and then someone fleshes out our mortality into a thread and we all dive in.

What I have is a simple spreadsheet with the list of domains and how much each particular site has earned over the past year. It was originally a way for me to prioritize my efforts but now it also doubles as an "In Case of Emergency" file for my wife and/or survivors to be able to salvage the more productive domains. Yet it's also why, in the words of Walt Whitman, "Simplify, simplify, simplify" may be my resolution for 2006 to streamline it all (for my own sanity and to plan for my mortality).

woop01




msg:1366400
 7:02 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have a "If I'm dead" file at the bottom of my top desk drawer. It provides enough information for my wife to sell the sites a reasonable price if I were to pass on. Some things I've included...

-Domain registrar logins and their ball park values ($50, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, etc.)
-Paypal, bank, and Adsense login information
-A list of all recurring expenses including which ones are absolutely critical and which ones are not
-Instructions on how to maintain the sites at a reasonable level
-A CD with pre-written "this site is for sale" pages with easily understood instructions on how to upload them to the web server
-Most importantly - a list of 3 people who have shown interest in purchasing my sites in the past and details on the minimum she should accept and the reasons she should expect that much. It will make the negotiations much easier.

Regarding ownership, she's already half owner of our LLC. I know she won't be able to run them but I want to make sure she can get a fair shake for them if it does come to that.

incrediBILL




msg:1366401
 8:20 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

What instructions should be left so my family can still continue to reap the benifits of my adsense cheques

I would tell them to avoid buses at all costs.

I'm not sure they need to keep using your account as they could replace your AdSense code with a new account.

More important in my mind would be the transfer of the domain names and such.

This is another reason why I have my main money making web site domains prepaid for 10 years in advance so whoever is left won't need to worry about some things for a while.

Plus, I don't have to worry about the vultures camping on my domain just hoping it will expire ;)

LifeinAsia




msg:1366402
 9:29 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

In addition to the excellent information already given, I would add that you should update it on a regular basis, just like your business plan. (Um, you DO regularly update your business plan, right? :) )

After all, passwords change (or should be changed) periodically, new affiliate programs/advertisers/etc. come and old ones go, you sometimes change registrars or hosting companies, etc.

Also, some people may be thinking that they don't need to worry about all this because they'll just have their family sell the business. Well who is going to pay your family top dollar for a poorly documented business where no one even knows what the passwords are? If enough documentation/explanation is given so someone could jump right in and continue your business by following the instructions you've left, that's worth a LOT more than a business with no documentation.

SincerelySandy




msg:1366403
 9:56 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I keep a ...
fresh copy of all my sites on a CD
list (on paper) of all my domain names & passwords
list of all my e-mail addresses & passwords
list of google and yahoo advertising accounts & passwords
This all goes in a small fire proof safe.
I have also shown my other half enough of what I do to be able to carry on without much trouble.

Kirby




msg:1366404
 10:58 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

>A file on my palm with all the login urls, usernames and passwords that I use in my daily work, as well as all the banking details. (a safe print out would not hurt too)

Not a very secure place to store this info. You could lose your palm and your identity in one fell swoop.

Keeping good books and business records is critical. Having a backup plan is more so. Also, dont plan just for death but incapcitaion. With death, for many there is life insurance. But what if the bus doesnt kill you, instead leaves you mentally or physically incapicitated? What would you do?

asp4bunnies




msg:1366405
 11:05 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Keep the information in a safety-deposit box in the bank.

joeduck




msg:1366406
 11:06 pm on Dec 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would tell them to avoid buses

Good prescription from Doctor Bill!

I told my wife to get a trusted other webmaster on the job pronto in exchange for a % of proceeds.

Joe

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