What will happen to your passwords after you pass?

What do you think of when you think of estate planning? You may think of wills, trusts, and other integral pieces of an estate plan. However, do you think of your online passwords? Today, more than ever, our lives revolve around having a personal web presence to handle everything from paying bills to connecting with long lost friends.

Because we utilize the internet for so much of our lives these days, it's important that we track the usernames and passwords for our online accounts. Here are a few examples of why you should jot down your login info:

Avoid traumatizing your friends and family: Facebook, for example, has millions of profiles belonging to deceased users. Without someone having your login info, your loved ones may still receive potentially traumatizing notifications like birthday notices.

Your accounts will need an update. Some cellphone carriers will require you to not only provide a death certificate and social security number, but an account number as well. Ensuring your loved ones can access this information after your passing can alleviate some stress during a difficult time by simplifying the process of updating or closing your accounts.

Accessing your money may be difficult. You may be the person who handles your family’s finances but that doesn’t mean you should be the only one with access. Someone who cannot access your account may have a difficult time accessing money from a joint bank account or removing your name from a credit card if they can’t login. Different financial institutions have different requirements for updating an account after an account holder’s death, so access to these accounts is important.

Keep track of everything

Once you find a person to entrust with the keeping of your online login info, write down the usernames and passwords and store them in a safe place. However, you should make sure someone knows the location of your login info. Alternatively, you could use a password keeping app but make sure someone will be able to access it in the event of your death.

Estate planning is one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones. Writing down your login information to your online accounts is another step you can take to help your friends and family tie off the loose ends after your passing.

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Attorney Christopher J. Fein

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