Estate Planning Pitfall: You Haven’t Provided a Password List To Relatives

Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.
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Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably encouraged your elderly relatives to list of all their assets and contact information, including passwords to online accounts. This will enable you or other family members to access vital information at times when you must act on their behalf.

But what about yourself? If you’re relatively young and in good health, you may have ignored the possibility that you could suddenly and unexpectedly become incapacitated or even die. In a worst-case scenario, your loved ones will be locked out of your accounts. Don’t make this mistake.

Typically, you can supplement your will by providing a list of instructions or a similar document. Use this opportunity to list passwords for logins to email accounts, websites, financial and retirement accounts, and social media accounts. This will save your family members a lot of hassle at a time when they’re likely to be emotionally wrought or grieving.

If you want to go the extra mile, use a password manager so that they’ll have “one-stop shopping” for all your logins. You can find a number of reputable options at a reasonable cost for year-round protection. Alternatively, you might use a password-protected spreadsheet. In either event, make sure this important information is available to the people who will need it the most.

Finally, keep the information updated. It won’t do anyone any good if the passwords are obsolete.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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