I’m being practical here and need expert advice on possible courses of action. The internet is relatively new, you may face this problem soon... trust me!
I write and maintain several non commercial websites and I have concerns about the length of my remaining life here on earth. It would be a good idea to make these websites maintainable by a layperson, someone with no PHP experience. These thoughts follow on from the death of a man called Dave Cushman who wrote one of the best beekeeping information websites on the internet.
1. Redo the whole lot on Wordpress or similar, no mean feat for hagleyvillage.org; it has 126 pages and loads of widget type functionality.
2. I write one page websites, this is where there is only an index page of which the centre bit is switched by categories and types, to the desired content. I could write a content management system or is there a script out there that will put mark-up into the input from an editor page? Then there’s the question of graphics and adding new pages.
3. A strategy I haven’t thought of?
If you have travelled this road before what did you experience? if your already dead then please don’t reply!
It can be the same like with your personal things, someone can get them, or you give them, or, passing the time, they will transform in nothing.
Probably the only real difference you need to account for is access credentials. The sites and such will transfer like property, but if you took the FTP passwords to the grave and the email password that controlled the accounts then your heirs might have some difficulties getting access to the site.
Everything else is a pretty straightforward estate matter, though IANAL and you should probably talk to one.
My plan is simple: don't die.
This has been discussed a few times before. The main thing, as said above, is make sure that clients have details on how to access the domain and the server / site files, so that the site can be handed on to another developer in the event of your demise.
We've also seen examples of personal sites with great content that have eventually disappeared after the site owner died. It's rather sad. Ideally, we'd appoint a colleague or someone else as an executor of the site so that it could be maintained or offered to someone else if we disappear.
An interesting reply. My son is a research biologist at UCL in the UK, he tells me that in his lifetime someone will live to 200 and in his child’s lifetime someone will become immortal. I asked, "how can that happen?" He said there are two strategies, one cell replacement therapy and two nanite technology. Immortality doesn't help me in this case, but after reading the replies here I need to make the server passwords accessible to the committee and hope some soul comes along after me. That's all I can do.
Feels like I'm hijacking as I reply to yours... I know this may sound crazy but I believe one day that our brain memories can be saved into a disk and transfer to a robot body. It will have all human functionality like self learning, all senses, and this robot will never think that they are a robot but a human being. Man... this sci-fi stuff is fun!
Just like any of your personal belongings, those websites will likely disappear if nobody will maintain it. If it has its own domain, it will expire for sure. Unless you want others to benefit from your site, there's no need to think about what will happen to it when you die. Once you transition to non-physical you wouldn't care about the material things in the world.