Digital Legacy Trust


Preserve member’s personal websites for decades after their death.

This is for those few people who have put significant expression of their thoughts, creations, and personality into their personal website, hosted at their own domain, who want it to continue as a public legacy after their death.

Everything on their website will continue as it was. Their domain name will be renewed, and website will be working, for a hundred years.


At its simplest, this would be like a pre-paid debit card. If the member’s annual cost of domain name renewal and website hosting is (for example) $50, then a hundred years will cost $5000. So the member puts $5000 into their pre-paid debit card. Then the trust uses that pre-paid debit card pays their domain name renewals and web hosting bills for a hundred years.

But Visa/Mastercard debit cards expire every few years. Web hosting companies and domain registrars merge or go out of business. Then the trust would need access to their registrar account and web hosting account.

So instead, the member transfers their domain name ownership into the trust, and the trust uses that member’s deposited funds to keep it renewed.

Non-profit Charitable Trust

There are companies (like Gentreo for example) that charge $50 per year to look after your “Digital Family Vault”. But deciding to pay someone an ongoing service fee is a very different decision.

This trust doesn’t cost anything. The trust keeps none of the client’s deposited money. That’s why it’s a charitable trust, not a company.

Each member’s funds are kept in a separate allotted account, allocated just for them. If a member deposits $3500, that entire $3500 is still theirs. The trust is a non-profit that takes none of their funds.

It’s efficiently and transparently run by part-time volunteers and automation. Operating costs can be covered by interest earned on stored funds. Accounting ledgers are public and audited to show that the trust is neither profiting nor using any of its members’ deposited funds.

Also see for a different approach.


Maybe the trust should manage the web hosting as well, but then that’s a business with expenses. Maybe that’s a separate business that runs efficient web hosting only for clients of the trust. Sysadmin and website maintenance will be available to convert ever-changing technologies like JavaScript to the most long-lasting technologies, like plain text, HTML, and CSS, most likely to last a hundred years.

Most people use database-driven dynamic platforms like WordPress, because they are easier to use than writing static HTML. But compared to static websites, these are much more expensive and difficult to host and maintain. So maybe the trust keeps a static HTML mirror of the member’s website. Then if we don’t get a response from the member after a certain time, say 90 days, then we point their domain to their static HTML site.


Derek Sivers