- "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak
John Pride of Salem died intestate, and his widow brought in an inventory of his estate, the last, 12m:1647.
Court ordered distribution to his son, under twenty-one years, £ 8, and two daughters, under eighteen years, £ 4 each. The mother was to bring them up. House and land bought of Mr. Holgrave security. Salem Quarterly Court Records, 2:225
Inventory: One dwellinge house, one barne and worke house with foure Akers of land adjoyninge to it, £ 16; marsh and uplande grounde uppon the necke beinge the one halfe of that sometime belonginge to Mr. Holgrane, £ 8 15s; one halfe aker of marsh and halfe an aker of upland, £ 1 10s; two Cowes and one heighfer of two yeares old, £ 13; three Calves of this yeare, £ 3; one hogge and two shotts, £ 2 17s 6d; foure ewe gotes and 2 lambes, £ 2; one fether bed, one bolster, foure pillowes, one Rugge, one pr blanketts, £ 5; two old Rugges, two course beds, one blanket and one bolster, 12s; three pr of sheetes, £ 1 10s; bands and capps, 10s; wearinge apparrell, £ 6; one brass lettle, 1 lettle brass pott and one Iron pott, £ 1 4s; thirtie and seaven dozzen of earthen ware, £ 4 12s 6d; warminge pann and three pewter cupps, 6s 8d; leade and other earthen ware, £ 1 7s; a bible and other books and a glass, 12s; two gryinge panns, 7s; one Fowlinge peece, one musket rest and sword, £ 2 10s; a pr of pot hookes and hangers, 7s; foure Axes, a spade and a picke Axe, 14s; tow table boards, two chests, two boxes with chaires and stoole, £ 1 18d; one bed steed and a trundle bedsteed, 10s; fifteene Akers of Lande on Cape An side, £ 9; for wheate, barly, Pease and Indian Corne, £ 3; total £ 88 16s
Perhaps, if they were lucky enough to have paper and quill, our ancestors would create a simple list of their belongings and designate beneficiaries. Here is a Last Will and Testament from Robert Weekes from 1771, the first husband of a relative of my husband's, 7 generations back!
Included in the inventory were:
Our way of living has added a new wrinkle that should be considered when planning for death. What about the part of you that exists online? What about your publications and creations online: the postings on you blog, your email, images and items available through social media? What about access to those items? What about a gaming persona?
Click here to see the original photo above and a succinct chart of outlining the "Real Life You" and the "Digital You"
Now that many of us have digital property, we should make preparations so that the digital part of our lives can be handled as easily as possible, according to our wishes, by those we leave behind. There are decisions to be made. Who should have access to the content of your blog? Will your Facebook page remain standing? Will your heirs be able to access your online accounts? Our new age has brought new things to consider as we plan for death.
For more information about this topic:
Social Media Policies When You Die
Prepare for Your Death by Creating a Digital Tombstone
USA Gov's Tips on Preparing a Social Media Will
How to Manage your Online Accounts After You Die