Friday, January 18, 2013

How to take your secrets with you to the grave

When you suffer a heart attack, are killed by a mugger, or die in a traffic accident, others are going to go through the things you leave behind. Your parents, your children, or even the government.

Is there anything you’d rather they did not find?
Any pictures, letters, documents, records, books,
or strange items? 

I am currently arranging for the storage overseas of small, medium, and large boxes. These boxes can be retrieved by you at any time, but otherwise, the contents will disappear when you die.

If you’ve already answered an email about this subject, please be patient—I’ll be contacting you soon.  Otherwise—should this be of interest to you—contact me today at Jack {at}

Use “Secrets” for the subject line.


  1. Jack, how will you know that the person has died and that it's time to destroy the material?

  2. We will hold all items for one year after the last payment is due. Then--considering the client is incapacitated or dead--we'll destroy the contents.

  3. What are the overall dimensions of the boxes and cost of each per year? I have docs, pics, and magazines I would like to keep. My pics and some docs are on encrypted hard drives. Also, what would the process be like to review stored items? Thanks!

  4. First, thanks for coming up with a new and innovative service.
    Everyone has different items that need to be addressed differently.

    For items that do not need to be used/reviewed often (old tax and legal records for example) this is a great idea.

    For photos/documents that one may want to review (letters, diaries, photos) scanning and emailing to an email account such as yahoo might be better. If the owner doesn't check email for 3-4 months (don't remember which) then Yahoo simply deletes all emails. Such account might be better accessed from a public terminal.

    Another scenario involves burglars if your keys are found (perhaps you haev a medical emergency or die outside your home.) I have two door locks at home: one works with a key, the other is a combination lock. Key is useless without the combination ... and vice versa.

    In some cases a local storage unit might do the trick. In my state (and possibly many states) if rent is not paid the contents are auctioned off and the auction is advertised in the paper. I am guessing that anyone buying the contents would be primarily interested in anything with resale value (furniture, appliances, electronics) and might dump the contents unread, or with only a cursory glance. This might be okay in low-privacy situations (a diary that does not mention people's last names, only first names and initials, women's clothing owned by a cross-dressing man, etc.)

    The reverse side of this plan involves making sure certain people receive certain items. Not sure how to handle that one when items are too bulky to keep in a separate safe deposit box for each heir.

  5. Although dying is 100% certain in the long run, there are other things that are far more likely to happen within the next couple of years:
    1) Burglary
    2) Relative/friend must stay with you immediately with no advance notice (perhaps their home became uninhabitable because of fire, flood, etc.)
    3) You are suddenly sick/injured and friend/relative is kind enough to stay with you to help you out; again this happens without advance notice.
    It is important for confidential papers, etc. to be protected from disclosure in these eventualities as well.


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