Your Articles After You Pass

We’re often notified that one of our members is no longer with us… as in has ‘died’ (with issues ranging from tragic death to old age natural death). The family usually has no idea what their loved one was up to… and thus, the topic of today’s blog entry.

The articles that are submitted here at EzineArticles usually have some marketing purpose to them as they are used as lead generation vehicles for the lively business interested owned by the member. Once the member is no longer living, it becomes a dis-service to keep their articles in present form because the business is either gone or in radically different form (possibly new owners).

Recommended: Let someone close to you (perhaps even a close business partner) know your wishes should you die before you had a chance to tidy up your online life.

You essentially have two choices: A) Remove your articles from syndication/circulation or B) Change the resource box to something that can live on for a very long time without misleading readers.

What do you think we should do with members who die (ie: We have confirmed their passing) who don’t leave us instructions? Would you keep your articles live post-death? How would your resource box change?



I think that if someone dies you should divide their articles up between all of the living authors remaining on EzineArticles.

Comment provided June 19, 2007 at 11:36 PM


Edward Weiss writes:

Excellent topic and one that needs to be discussed. I know I would want my articles to be read after I’m dead. :)

As far as what to do with a deceased author’s articles, I would alter the resource box to indicate the passing away and keep the articles live.

When you think about, the information will continue to benefit others and that’s a good thing as Martha Stewart would say.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 12:59 AM


Michael Russell writes:

I am afraid I cannot agree with ‘dividing them up’ – perhaps just a short note on their bio that the author is now deceased?

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 12:59 AM



Articles of the deceased can never be divided up by other authors.

The ownership rights of articles by former members who died — goes immediately to the estate of the deceased and it’s up to them how they want the articles handled. Unfortunately, most don’t plan for death and thus we may have quite a few members who have died and we are never notified of such. It’s the responsibility of the agent of the newly deceased to notify us upon their death.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 2:07 AM


Pamela Beers writes:

Good topic and not one I have thought about until now.

An author’s work is his/her legacy to the world. It will eventally become historical information, sort of like cave-man paintings. ;-)

Technology will change significantly over time, other things, such as human behavior, will remain the same.

Keep my articles alive. I want to be able to share with others when I’m long gone but not forgotten.

I like Edward Weiss’ idea of noting an author’s passing in their resource box.

All of your comments were most interesting. Thanks to all you authors out there.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 7:10 AM


Audrey writes:

I would be very in favor of having the EzineArticles staff change the bio to indicate the author had passed away, and remove all links.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 8:54 AM



What if the newly deceased willed his or her website to their family or a charity so that future earnings from their life’s work could continue to provide value for others?

This is about leaving a legacy… :-)

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:05 PM


mark writes:

One can assume that some businesses will continue (partners, spouses and siblings are often connected to the business) and therefore simply deleting articles is potentially disadvantaging the sites they are linking to.

I am interested to know how you know if an authour has died. I expect many, many more authors just “give up” their online activities and have also effecitvely “died”.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:15 PM


Patrick writes:

Unless there was a specific request, I would just leave things the way they are.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:17 PM


Jay Shaffstall writes:

This is something I’ve just started thinking about in general, now that I’m building an online business and have logins and passwords scattered all over the net. Seems like there needs to be a “read in case of death” sort of file that includes the proper disposition of articles, memberships, etc.

I’ve only put it off because it’s such a large task to collect all that information that currently lives only in my mind!

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:19 PM


Clayton Shold writes:

Would they become … “ghost writers?”
My vote, change the resource box to indicate deceased and leave them posted unless family wished otherwise.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:25 PM


PenDell Pittman writes:

I agree that a notice in the Bio section could be helpful, indicating that the author is deceased. Also, perhaps a sentence would serve, indicating how the links provided may not be fully functional now, and perhaps even a note like, “be careful if buying something from the linked sites,” etc.

This is a good reminder to us authors to leave instructions in our Wills, etc. as regards “intellectual property”, and “virtual possessions” — websites, blogs, etc.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:30 PM


Colm Wide writes:

Excuse me, I believe I am now dead! Can you suggest a medium through whom I can update the articles since my passing as the extra royalty payments can go towards much needed temperature control. My bank is EgoEthereal One and there is no Sort Code or Account No. merely a masked cloud that I have reserved for a rainy day.

PS: Seriously, death is supposedly a closure and keeping articles on current line is like keeping a Loved One’s Voice on the answering machine, the closure bit ain’t happening.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:35 PM


Amy Otis, RN writes:

As someone who lives with a chronic illness and knows that my time on earth is shorter than most other authors my age I didn’t even have to think about my response.

Author’s articles are still valuable information, unless they are out of date with what’s going on the world. Most articles are information that will continue to benefit others.

Some of us don’t have family who are aware of what we write on our sites and elsewhere, BTW.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:36 PM


Leslie McKerns writes:

It is unnecessary to write that someone has passed away, the articles (and books) live on. That is one of the reasons for becoming a writer — you achieve a lasting legacy and continue to pass your wisdom to others. On a long enough timeline, we all are dead… But hey, Chris, if we don’t leave you instructions, we get to live, right?

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:39 PM



Hi Chris! I think we better care about the continuation of our work. I’m going to leave my site for my son and I think he will be able to continue working on it with the articles and the ebooks available there.
My articles are about human nature, always useful, but I hope I’ll live enough to help people overcome their depression and their craziness, so that my old articles about these problems will be only a historical material for studies.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:44 PM


Bill Platt writes:

Keep mine living. I have built my business in such a way that I hope it will continue to produce for my family after I have gone. In fact, my assistant is nearly trained to the point to keep my business alive with the help of my wife, upon my passing.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:49 PM


Carl Chesal writes:

Just like any property, in this case intellectual property, it needs to be considered as part of a person’s will.

If you are not provided direction what to do with their articles from the executor, then a footnote in the resource box, indicating the person is deceased would suffice.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 3:58 PM


Susan Scharfman writes:

I agree with Ed Weiss. I’ll have my resource box altered to show I’ve dropped the body but remain in spirit in the form of my articles. My website will be closed down.


Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 4:04 PM


Reg Boczko writes:

When some one Pass away and they were repected writer…Yes there artcles should remain as long as they are being view… But their should be a notice of their death…

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 4:10 PM


Josh Spaulding writes:

Many of us have others (husbands, wives and/or children) who are prepared to take over our Businesses once we pass on.

My article marketing efforts drive a good portion of the traffic I receive to my sites.

I would hope that my articles remain unaltered and live, as their removal would hurt my families income.

Good point to touch on though.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 5:01 PM


Mike Pepper writes:

It’s strange that nobody has mentioned copyright. All articles are covered by copyright for long after the authors’ death, including the resource box.

Everything passes to the estate of the author and will go where his will takes it, via the executors. If something is not mentioned specifically in the will it still becomes part of the estate and will usually be caught in the ‘catch-all’ clause. This will likely state something along the lines of ‘ and everything else goes to the cat and dog shelter’.

I’ve never heard of anyone marking books, music, poetry etc. to say that the author has died. We still buy Buddy Holly CDs but I’ve never noticed any ‘He’s Dead’ stickers anywhere.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 5:33 PM


Kathy Hadley writes:

I think that the articles should be kept as they may contain valuable information. I would suggest that the information pertaining to the web site and the author be changed to say, this author is now deceased and are we are keeping this in circulation as a service to our readers but have removed all contact information.

Something like that.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 5:48 PM



I would like my articles left up to be read,in case anyone benefits from something I have said.
I think that is like a legacy.
leaving behind a persons ideas, thoughts,and values.or creations of any kind.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 6:58 PM


Beth Silver writes:

I suggest leaving the articles up and revising the bio to state that the author has passed away. There is no better tribute than having this person’s information available for others. I had a colleage pass away a few weeks ago and I know if these were his articles, the information he had written would be valuable to others.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 8:02 PM


Ian McKenzie writes:

The world’s great philosophers, educators, writers and poets are all remembered long after they have died by the legacy they have left behind … what they have written! I have just completed a new web site on inspirational quotes The thoughts of Hipprocatres, Aristotle and so on are just as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.

I certainly hope that after I have left this world, I will be remembered by some of my achievements. If some of these are writing … then great!

Ian McKenzie

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 8:13 PM


Alevoor Rajagopal writes:

I always thought that what you produce during your lifetime is your property unless you sold it off. And the ownership passes off to the legal heirs as do other estates.

Similarly, issue of dividing the property amongst the author members doesn’t arise, but ezines may, however attempt to notify the family/heirs in cases of late discoveries of death.

So, willed or not, it is for the law to decide on the issue.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 8:14 PM



My grand plan is to eventually sell my business (that won’t be anytime soon) or to have my heirs sell it after I die.

Whoever buys the business would be buying those articles. Keep the links in because the new owner could easily set up a redirect.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 9:01 PM


Pat Campbell writes:

How about having a memorial section so that the wisdom of those that have passed on can continue (but with links removed)? I would certainly like my articles to continue after I am gone :-)

Your article was interesting and certainly food for thought! In the event of sudden death how would you get to know about it? My kids (grown up) wouldn’t even know that I write articles let alone where they are published; they are aware that I have a website but they are not at all interested in spirituality. My oldest son hosts my website on his server (for free of course) and I guess if I was to die suddenly that after some period of time when he thought about it that my website would just quietly disappear!

However I do intend to live to a ripe old age and would no doubt give my website away to a like minded individual when I got too old to manage it myself. But even so I would never have thought about amending the links if you hadn’t written this article.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 9:08 PM


Sam Hubbard writes:

I think everyone who writes articles ties them someway to their web site. After death what happens to the web site? The articles that were written by the owner of the web site should be live for the life of that web site. Once the web site is sold, closed or whatever then the articles should be destroyed

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 10:25 PM


Galen Muhammad writes:

If the author’s article is still relevant, then why remove it?

My article, for example, is not “all about me” or “me-dependent”. The facts in one’s article should stand, with or without the author’s presence.

As for my business, the GREAT part is, it is willable!

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 10:55 PM


Maria Hausle writes:

Definitely, definitely keep the memory and the work alive by adding a comment to the Resource Box.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 11:38 PM


Larry writes:

I would like to think of my articles as a residual source of income for the bereaved loved ones left to bear my burial expences. Kind of like works of art that gain noteriety upon the artists dimise.

Comment provided June 20, 2007 at 11:57 PM


Andrew Grant writes:

What an interesting subject. Come on, you article authors, this one is crying out for some research and a whole bunch of articles such as ‘How to bequeath a digital business’, ‘Preparing for the worst – death in the internet age’ or ‘Five ways to make sure, your articles live on after you and benefit your loved ones’

I look forward to reading them.

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 3:03 AM



Ghost writers …. that was a terrific comment :-)

Thanks for bringing up this subject Evan. Having just completed the planning stage for our wills, it is sort of spooky though and I hope this isn’t an omen :-) It can be pretty confronting making decisions about “when I die”.

But it’s important to plan, so that assets (including copyright) can continue to deliver value. For myself, I’m working to develop my various businesses so that they operate effectively without me.

Remember when Cory Rudl died so young and tragically? It was just the most difficult time and there were a lot of people apart from family and friends who also grieved for the loss of someone considered highly. But the transition to leadership of Derek Gehl was very smooth and the business moved on. Thank heavens because it’s been of great service to a lot of people.

So I would say to everyone, make sure you’ve got everything documented such that if your time should come, your legacy continues to contribute.

If we’ve got family members who can pick it up (or are even interested) great, but we need to have mechanisms in place for smooth transfer of assets by sale if that’s not the case.

Best wishes

PS: My vote is “author deceased” and “leave links intact” in order to preserve the value of the business that the writer has left behind. If the business is defunct, it is up to the trustee of the estate to notify that the links should be “killed off” :-)

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 3:20 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

Keep the articles up, unless you are told otherwise, if the links become dead too, then leave the name and kill the links.

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 5:25 AM


Mark Harrison writes:

My business is a ltd company (the UK equivalent of a US C-corp) owned by my wife and I.

If I were to die, then my wife and kids inherit my share in the business. I’d like to feel that they could (if they choose) carry on running it, or make a decision to sell it.

If they sell, then it’s only reasonable that the person buying the business were to get ALL the benefit from it… including the goodwill / leads generated by my articles.

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 7:09 AM


Allen Taylor writes:

Sounds like something that should go into a will.


Got to call my attorney.

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 8:45 AM



“Ghost Writers” indeed!

As Clayton, Edward, Christine, Lance and a number of others have suggested, it really is important to consider legacy.

All of the greatest authors of our time, left a legacy – thankfully – and most became more recognised after their death.

Whilst most of us can only aspire to that level of recognition, I suspect that all of us yearn for it – it is what drives our literacy ambitions.

There is no reason whatsoever to assume that when one’s physical and mental functions have reached the end of their journey, that past deliberations, moments of journalistic originality, or even just personal viewpoints, should also reach conclusion – the written word lives forever.

With family approval, my advice would be to maintain a presence – we will all thank you from wherever!


Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 12:49 PM


Carolyn McFann writes:

I think our articles should keep being published. After all, they can still be of use to others as long as their topics are still relevant. It would be nice to know something of ours continues after we’re gone.

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 12:54 PM


Rena Murray writes:

I would want my articles to live on with an appropriate change in the resource box – because my subject matter and effective techniques are timeless.

I am a dog behavior specialist – a dog whispering obedience dog trainer who works with young and old, the shy dog and the “red zone” case. Dog body language, dog whispering, dog pack instincts, and leadership criteria existed long before I was born – and will continue long after my death!

I would want the article account to be “assumed” by someone close to my who shares my passion. I would want the resource box to reflect me as the “now deceased” author, with links to a site that provides more information and another consultant to contact – one who shares my philosophies, so all is harmonious.

Knowledge should not die, just because the writer of that slice of knowledge has gone to be with the Lord!

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 1:54 PM




Thanks for all of the feedback so far!

I’m pretty sure that our policy will be to not make a policy and handle the membership accounts on a case by case basis as we’re notified and can verify the obit.


Yes, that’s what we’ll do.


We know that an author has died when someone representing the author notifies us and we’re able to verify it with good confidence in the verification.


This thread makes us want to consider reaching out to members who have not logged in for the past year to see how they are doing. I suspect we’d suspend 7k accounts for email addresses bouncing back undeliverable.


Without instructions to the contrary, your articles get to live on providing value for others. It’s a great legacy to leave the next generation. In some big or small way, you and your articles mattered to others and are now a gift to future generations.


Want to see a deceased authors resource box?…&id=74253
Her family helped change the resource boxes.


Ghost Writers…. ha! You crack me up.

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 3:37 PM



Some articles are really brilliant! But of course, they will not be useful in a while, because the web is always changing, our world is always changing! Everything changes a lot, even the way we have to present some idea that belongs to the past or that is universally assumed as being part of humanity’s wisdom.
Perhaps the point is not if the author is dead or alive but only if his or her articles can be always useful.

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 3:43 PM


Mike writes:

Hey folks, this is pointless.

Everything an author writes is protected by copyright for something like 75 years after the authors death.

You can’t touch it unless its new owner specifically instructs.

Its possible that the owners of article directories like this one may decide to include in their tos something like:

I only publish from live folks. You die, I drop your articles.

But why would they?

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 3:59 PM




I think part of your last post was in a foreign language?

The issue is not one of copyright but the sensitive consideration of “continuation”

Chris’s dichotomy is, at what point do you consider amending an authors bio box to reflect their death and how do you communicate that event.

My original view holds good here, it is all about legacy and that decision rests with the family.

I think earlier frivolous commentary regarding the the allotment of submitted articles to other people, has wisely been ignored and dismissed:

Equally,there is no reason to consider copyright issues, these are irrelevant; as you suggest, they are taken care of already.

This is a very sensitive subject, which requires mature debate – many of us have already considered the “What if?” question.


Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 4:34 PM



Articles are not books; they shall have the taste of fresh news, even if they are talking about something old. However, the truth is that people delay too much to learn something new; so many times they keep defending conceptions that were already considered wrong in some point thanks to recent discoveries, as if nothing had happened.
Sometimes we can’t determine what is still useful and will remain useful for long, and what has nothing more to offer to new readers.
It’s possible that some articles written in the past will always be contemporary because they talk about problems that never disappear, but most articles are useful for relatively short period of time, even though people keep reading them, as they keep agreeing with outdated information because they cannot easily accept new ideas.
I think they would like to continue reading the old articles, no matter if the author is dead. But Chris is worried about the functionalism of these articles since their main purpose is to bring customers to their authors’ sites. If they are only information to be kept, they should not be part of this Ezine. The Ezine has to show to the public fresh original articles that have a good reason to be here.

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 5:21 PM



Hi Chris

Those “deceased” resource boxes, done with family, are just terrific.

And it’s good to know that the rb can either be left as is, or altered, depending on circumstances.

Incumbent on us all to take steps regarding anything we feel strongly about.

Of course this can tidy things up on EzineArticles, but there’ll be (hopefully) many thousands of copies all over the net with the “old” info on them.

Thanks for bringing this up Chris.

Best wishes

Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 6:53 PM



This is quite a grave discussion, indeed.

I have always thought that one of the benefits of being write was, like teachers, you get to touch the future and leave a legacy.

That would be my humble preference with my articles.

Dig it?


Comment provided June 21, 2007 at 11:22 PM


Cheryl Jones writes:

I think the articles should continue to live even if the author dies. If it becomes evident through comments made back to the administration that someone is not responding to their bio contact info, (whether by natural death or some other reason), then the administration should make a standard comment in the bio area that the author is no longer accessible, but the information in the article can live on to enlighten people.

Comment provided June 22, 2007 at 1:09 AM


Dr Laila Ahmed writes:

I would Love to live beyond after my Physical death through my work and articles are one of them. some one has said ” do good deeds that people remembers you for 50 years even after your death.”

Light & Fragrance

Dr. Laila Ahmed

Comment provided June 22, 2007 at 2:33 AM


Alevoor Rajagopal writes:

I have always believed and held that any creation of a person is his property either of intellectual or phusical type.

Now as regards to managing the published article that is going to remain live after death of authors, Cheryl Jones has a point, I thought. Ezines can, by declared principle, label it appropriately so that readers are aware of the fact. Wherever possible the latest available contact can be mentioned, if it is not the same as the resource box.

Alevoor Rajagopal

Comment provided June 22, 2007 at 8:53 AM



“I am ready to meet my maker, but whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

– Winston Churchill

Comment provided June 22, 2007 at 9:01 AM



Let them live on

I have not lifted my pen in vain.
that my words will die,
in my last breathe,
If I can leave behind,
Something of myself,
That others will remember, long after I’m gone,
If it’s words of wisdom,
or lyrics to a song.

I have lifted my pen,
while others have slept,
Sometime the words,
are the tears that I have wept,

Should I die,
Let my words live on.
If it’s words of wisdom,
or lryics to a song.

On this earth we are only vagrants.
waiting to soar heaven’s sky free.
Sometime you leave a legacy,
It can be words of wisdom.
that were born in the heart of me,

a light to shine for the blind,
so they may open their eyes to see.

Footprints I left behind,
secrets of peace of mind,
All that I learned from my wrong.

If it’s words of wisdom,
or lyrics to a song.
Let them live on.

Death may come and take my breath,
But there will be something left.
of my heart when Im gone,
if it’s words of wisdom
or lyrics to a song.
Let them live on

Let them live on

Comment provided June 22, 2007 at 9:06 AM


Susan Scharfman writes:

I arrived early on in this discussion. After thinking more seriously about it, and reading everyone’s input, I realize that it was my ego speaking, which does not want to let go of anything. So I was wrong.

Christina Sponias wrote:

“The Ezine has to show to the public fresh original articles that have a good reason to be here.” Yes!

Chris Knight’s Winston Churchill quote also added to the change in my decision since I am in no way shape or form a Winston Churchill.

I’m so used to being told by the one person in the world who means the most to me that I’m the best, that sometimes I tend to believe it. In any case, I decided that there is no reason for my articles to clutter up this Ezine which should be as bright and fresh as its living authors. Exceptions should be made to budding Winston Churchills.

Comment provided June 22, 2007 at 9:44 AM



Judy Arline’s poem is beautiful! Words of wisdom shall live for sure, and even words that are not that wise, because they teach us many things, but not necessarily in this Ezine, among the articles of people that are alive, because their work has another meaning, since they can produce more articles and since we can be in contact with them at any time.
Perhaps the dead author’s articles should belong to another category, if they are still useful for any reason.

Comment provided June 22, 2007 at 10:32 AM


Edward Weiss writes:

The comment that articles should be “fresh” is simply not true. An article can be timeless and can be relevant for years… even centuries later.

It all depends on what you write about.

Comment provided June 22, 2007 at 2:03 PM



You are right Edward! Everyone here is right, depending on his or her perspective.

I hope my articles will be considered remarkable ones and people will like to read them even when the reality I’m presenting there will be different. I hope first of all I’ll be able to cure everyone with my articles and my ebooks, so that my first articles presenting the problems people have will be too old in a while!
This is the point about fresh articles: they continue. There is a better perspective in this continuation, for the public and for the Ezine.

Comment provided June 22, 2007 at 6:28 PM


Janet Barclay writes:

Although most (if not all) authors submit their articles to article directories for marketing purposes, I think it would be a disservice to the public to delete useful information just because the author is deceased.

When preparing a continency plan, business owners would be wise to include a list of article directories they use, along with their user names and passwords, so the person(s) taking over or wrapping up the business can update the resource box appropriately.

Comment provided June 23, 2007 at 11:53 AM


Joe Kocsis writes:

Why not have a leaving your wishes section added to the login of an author. This way a beneficiary can view the authors wishes and the athors wishes can be complied with.

Comment provided June 24, 2007 at 6:44 AM


Chinmay Chakravarty writes:



Comment provided June 24, 2007 at 1:45 PM


dennis siluk writes:

I don’t care what you do with them!

Comment provided June 25, 2007 at 5:01 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

Yes, but Dennis you have some of the best work on this site. So, I want those kept up so that I can read them all.

Comment provided June 25, 2007 at 10:53 PM



I say… let them continue to share the wisdom and ideas captured or created for my readers. I have and intent to continue living my life to make a ‘leveraged’ difference. Writing plays an important part in that process. Of course some of my websites, like which covers my speaking will change or be shut down but many like one of my writting sites will continue.

I am making arrangements to create a charitable foundation which will be partially funded by my online activities while I am alive and fully funded when I have passed on.

Just as I love and appreciate the wisdom caught in the words of writers from years past, I hope some will appreciate an idea or two that I have shared.

Comment provided July 25, 2007 at 9:25 AM


Mike writes:

Hey, I just found out Einstien’s dead. Burn all his books, tear up all his articles and quit worrying over that wierd theory thing.

Comment provided September 22, 2007 at 3:09 PM


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Please read our comment policy before commenting.