Include Online Accounts and Passwords in Your Estate Plan
So much of our important information today is stored digitally. When we pass away, we need our loved ones to be able to access these accounts to be able to settle the affairs of our estate. Therefore, it’s important to leave behind instructions about how to access these accounts, including a list of all accounts, usernames and passwords.
However, you should never include this information in a will. After your death, your will technically becomes a public document as soon as it gets filed in probate court. although it may seem unlikely others who are not related to you would look up information related to your will, it is certainly possible that they could do so.
Putting that information in a living trust, although less public, is not a good idea, either.
In general, the best plan is simple: create a list of all your usernames, passwords and other account information, and make sure someone you trust has that information. You could store it in a file on your computer or in a physical file in a drawer or locked filing cabinet somewhere. The best solution is an application on your mobile device that will store your passwords in an encrypted file. You can access all your passwords with just one master password that you can give to a trusted person. Even that person, though, cannot access your passwords without your mobile divice, so you can still hold that information confidential. A couple of good applications for your consideration are 1Password and Lastpass.
Your list of digital assets should include all the information needed to access:
- Your computer
- Web hosting service accounts (if you own domains/hosting)
- Email accounts
- Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
- Online subscriptions, such as newspapers and magazines
- Bank and lending accounts
- Retirement or other savings plans
- Photo storage sites
- Locked cell phones
- Password protected software
- Utilities accounts
For more information on how to properly manage your digital legacy, meet with a skilled Tampa estate planning attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.